Adaptations: Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem


Released last November, Motherless Brooklyn is the second directorial project from actor Edward Norton and is an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s 1999 award-winning novel of the same name.

Motherless Brooklyn is a crime story that revolves around a lonely detective with Tourette’s syndrome (Norton) who is looking for answers after his boss (Bruce Willis) is murdered. Set against the backdrop of 1950s New York City (unlike the book, which takes place in the ’90s), the movie also stars Willem Dafoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Alec Baldwin.

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Back Cover Copy of Motherless Brooklyn:

Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, Lionel Essrog is an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town. Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original, captivating homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.

About Jonathan Lethem:

Jonathan Lethem was born in New York and attended Bennington College.  He is the author of seven novels including Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which was named Novel of the Year by Esquire and won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Salon Book Award, as well as the Macallan Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger.  He has also written two short story collections, a novella and a collection of essays, edited The Vintage Book of Amnesia, guest-edited The Year’s Best Music Writing 2002, and was the founding fiction editor of Fence magazine.  His writings have appeared in the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s and many other periodicals.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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