19 Following


A BookLikes home companion to LitReactor.com, an online haven for readers and writers.

BOOKSHOTS REVIEW: Holy Hell, is this what Communism was like?

Dissident Gardens: A Novel - Jonathan Lethem


Dissident Gardens


Who wrote it?


Jonathan Lethem, the brilliant, wonderful author of Motherless Brooklyn, one of my favorite books.

Plot in a Box:

A communist Jewish family in all its fucked up glory endures through the 20th Century.


Invent a new title for this book :

Holy Hell, Is THIS What Communism Was Like?


Read this if you liked:

Anything by the Three Jonathans (Lethem, Franzen, Safran Foer).


Meet the book’s lead:

Rose Zimmer, who once hoped to lead the American Communists to a fruitful reign; now she’s a sad caricature of her own former glory.


Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:  

Dame Judi Dench


Setting: Would you want to live there?

Ah, New York. I miss New York. I love New York. Seriously, if I had an I Love New York t-shirt, I would wear it. That said, Rose lives in Queens…and Queens? Well, I once bought some seriously sketchy wine in Queens. So maybe I don’t want to live there.


What was your favorite sentence?

God himself had gone inside her to die: Rose’s disbelief, her secularism, wasn’t a freedom from superstition but the tragic burden of her intelligence. God existed just to the puny extent he could disappoint her by his nonexistence, and while he was puny, her anger at him was immense, almost Godlike. Finally, if you dared argue, if you needed proof of Godlessness in this vale of outrage, the Holocaust. Each of the six million was a personal injury nursed within the volcano, too.


The Verdict:


Read the rest of Leah's review here!