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Brooklyn ‘Mascot’ Jonathan Lethem Likes Life in SoCal

A lot of people found it odd when Brooklyn novelist Jonathan Lethem decided to uproot last year and head to SoCal to take David Foster Wallace‘s former teaching position at Pomona College. After all, there weren’t too many writers more closely associated with a location than Lethem was with Brooklyn. But in what looks to be a Sunday LA Times story, posted early online, Lethem says the move was much needed, and is working out well.

“Brooklyn is repulsive with novelists, it’s cancerous with novelists,” Lethem says, of why he needed to get out. “I do love New York, but it’s also unbearable to me in some ways, and I compulsively leave it behind.”

Then there’s this great quote about Lethem’s life in Brooklyn from New York Magazine writer Boris Kachka: “I feel like [Lethem] was a mascot for a while, and he didn’t really want to be a mascot.”

Lethem fans shouldn’t be too worried about the writer’s future work, now that he’s living away from the borough that sustained his talents for so many years. “I wrote most of ‘Fortress of Solitude’ living in Toronto,” he says.

“Apart from being very happy in Claremont, I’m excited to be in Southern California, such a charged, allegorical place for me.”

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