A Gambler's Anatomy
Do they play backgammon at the Belle Meade Country Club?
I’ve always imagined Michael Chabon to be Jonathan Lethem’s Keith Stolarsky. They came up around the same time. They’ve both written about Berkeley / Oakland. They kind of look the same. The analogy falls apart though because Lethem isn't beholden to Chabon for anything. Gambler’s Anatomy is a tragicomedic doubling cube. Lethem keeps raising the stakes and the reader gets the pay out. Not so much for Bruno Alexander. It’s a return to form for Lethem after the stylistically dazzling but emotionally dismal Dissident Gardens. Don’t be put off by the absurd premise. Much like Lethem’s masterful Chronic City, the lead character can be alienating at first, but behind the, um, mask, there is a payload of human heart.