Motherless Brooklyn - Jonathan Lethem

Motherless Brooklyn

By Jonathan Lethem

  • Release Date: 2000-10-24
  • Genre: Mysteries & Thrillers
Score: 4
From 135 Ratings


Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

A compelling and complusively readable riff on the classic detective novel from America's most inventive novelist. 

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.

A New York Times Notable Book.


  • Excellent

    By Emmet Aloysius
    Great book, great writing, and enjoyable all around!...EAF
  • Motherless Brooklyn

    By Witness2282
    Great murder mystery with a film noir feel, but told from a different angle. It's interesting to get in the mind of a main character with Tourette's syndrome. Great book