Explores familiar territory from a new point of view in a style new to him. It unfolds through passages ranging in length from less than a page to a dozen, each labeled and dated. And it leaps between decades and then into liminal spaces that exist across time to cast a light on forgotten exchanges and actions. This kaleidoscopic, fragmentary quality is no lark; it is essential to Lethem’s project ... At first glance, the book’s stark title — coupled with Lethem’s frequent play with mystery tropes — signals that this is a genre novel. It is definitely not ... A brutal question to ask yourself: Was writing a book about your childhood friends and home turf an act of betrayal? ... Lethem lets the ragged edges remain visible. The story’s texture and pacing echoes his message ... The novel is also an endless declaration of love. Every neighborhood deserves such a discursive portrait, such ruthless devotion and such an audacious book.
Has a memoirish aspect. The narrator seems to be peering at events from a distance behind the stiff collar of an upturned trench coat ... These events are told in staccato language and chronological hopscotch ... 'Anyone still reading at this point?' he asks, six words that should probably never be put between covers ... Girls, though, are with few exceptions unapologetically marginal to this zigzagging story, which is about how boys navigate varieties of intimacy and violence ... A book that itself, structurally if not plotwise, is stripped down to the studs. It’s an interesting and affecting experiment, even if it sometimes feels like being flagellated with irony and ironworks.
A crime novel because there's crime in it, but it's also a novel that explores relationships between the cultures and races that make up Brooklyn. It is also a novel about parenthood, friendship, what it means to be a local, growing up, and politics. In fact, trying to break down everything Lethem injected into this narrative would be impossible. The important thing is the end result; a kaleidoscopic, dazzling (hi)story that is at once wonderfully engaging, informative, and one of the most complete and honest love letters ever written to Brooklyn.