Let me think Stories

J. Robert Lennon, 1970-

Book - 2021

"Let Me Think is a meticulous selection of short stories by one of the preeminent chroniclers of the American absurd. Through J. Robert Lennon's mordant yet sympathetic eye, the quotidian realities of marriage, family, and work are rendered powerfully strange in this rich and innovative collection. Here you'll find a heist gone wrong, a case of mistaken identity, a hostile encounter with a neighborhood eccentric, a glass eye, a talking owl, and a six-fingered hand. Whatever the subject, Lennon disarms the reader with humor before pivoting to pathos, pain, and disappointment--most notably in an extraordinary sequence of darting, painfully funny fictions about a disintegrating marriage that captures the myriad ways intimacy can... fail us, and the ways that we can fail it."--Provided by publisher.

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Short stories
Minneapolis, Minnesota : Graywolf Press [2021]
Main Author
J. Robert Lennon, 1970- (author)
Physical Description
213 pages ; 21 cm
  • Girls
  • Boys
  • Want (cane)
  • Want (nut)
  • Blue light, red light
  • Polydactyl
  • Marriage (fault)
  • Marriage (love)
  • Marriage (game)
  • The cottage on the hill (I)
  • Doors
  • As usual, only the crows
  • Pins
  • Lost and gone
  • Fastidious
  • SuperAmerica
  • West to East
  • Marriage (pie)
  • Marriage (umbrella)
  • Marriage (point)
  • The loop
  • Cleaning (dust)
  • Cleaning (off)
  • Jim's eye
  • Nickname
  • Lipogram for a passover turkey knife
  • Let me think
  • Therapy
  • Winter's calling
  • In darkness
  • The cottage on the hill (II)
  • Unnamed
  • Monsters
  • The unsupported circle
  • Marriage (coffee)
  • Marriage (drugs)
  • Marriage (whiskey)
  • The regulations
  • #facultyretreat
  • Nine of swords
  • The museum of near misses
  • The cottage on the hill (III)
  • Breadman
  • Sympathy
  • Storm
  • Notebook
  • Falling down the stairs
  • Marriage (marriage)
  • Marriage (sick)
  • Marriage (mystery)
  • Eleven
  • Rest stop
  • Owl
  • Husbands
  • Something you may not have known about Vera
  • The deaths of animals
  • It's over
  • By the light of small explosions
  • Death (movie)
  • Death (after)
  • Death (something)
  • Apparently not
  • Mud
  • Marriage (divorce (pie))
  • Choirboy
  • Candle
  • The cottage on the hill (IV)
  • Subject verb
  • Because
  • Ending.
Review by Booklist Review

Let Me Think, Lennon's third fiction collection, offers scores of brief stories, most ranging from a single paragraph to one or two pages, that live at the intersection of the surreal and the weird, the fantastical and the uncanny, rooted in a reality slightly askew and frequently tinted with dark humor. In one, a young boy becomes paranoid after watching a true-crime show and his parents' efforts to alleviate his fears only exacerbate them. In fact, many of these stories explore familial and marital relationships, adroitly capturing subtle aggressions and emotional manipulations with a perceptive, penetrating wit. Some can serve as brief thought experiments, providing just enough carefully crafted phrases or ominous hints to invite the reader to interpret the meaning. Even the more absurd entries have the sheen of authenticity, owing to Lennon's cerebral style buoyed by an astute observational eye that captures human nature in all its quirky tendencies and embarrassing eccentricities. These stories offer a uniquely satisfying mélange of reality-adjacent truth and mordant wit that will appeal to readers of George Saunders and Dan Chaon.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Lennon (Pieces for the Left Hand) deploys his trademark off-kilter, acrimonious humor in this arresting collection. A series of riffs on marriage are sprinkled throughout, involving spouses sparring in an atmosphere of feral domesticity: "Everything is ruin... even love," thinks an adulterous husband as he falls down the stairs in "Marriage (Whiskey)." There is a theatrical quality to the marital scenes, revealing not so much the inner lives of the combatants but their readiness to quip and wound. Other stories condense an entire history of filial resentment within one sculpted paragraph, as in "Polydactyly," about a boy born with six fingers on each hand. "Death (After)" gets the job done in one sentence: "I believe in the afterlife in the same way I believe in the afterparty: it may exist, but I'm not invited, and so will never find out." The "Cottage on the Hill" series is the standout, four eerie accounts of a man's visits to a rundown rental cabin at different points in his life, in which the place is drastically, sometimes inexplicably, changed each time. If some of the pieces fail to elicit more than a smirk or a nod, there are plenty that dig deep. Lennon has talent to spare. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic (Apr.)

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