Lethem survey

I’ve just read my third Lethem novel and I’m really surprised.

In the order they were written: Gun, with Occasional Music I found to be clever, funny, and well written; Amnesia Moon was a chore of improbable plot and awkward language; Motherless Brooklyn was brilliantly written with a really remarkable protagonist.

What’s surprising is the drop in quality between the 1st and 3rd novels–until I checked the published dates I was convinced that Amnesia was his first novel, he progressed to Gun, and had finally found his stride with Motherless.

I guess I don’t have much to say other than, “huh?” I can understand an artist having a brilliant first novel, putting everything he knows into it, and then tapering off from there, but this just doesn’t make sense to me.