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Is Jonathan Lethem Writing a ‘Gossip Girl’ for Grown-ups?

Lethem at BAM last night.Photo: Getty Images


Jonathan Lethem's keen ability to mix fiction with autobiography comes after a lifetime of practice, the Brooklyn writer told us last night. Lethem was at BAM for Paul Simon: Under African Skies, but it wasn't the first time he'd seen Simon perform. He thinks. "When I was a kid, I went to a gigantic free Simon & Garfunkel concert in Central Park. There were these immense gatherings in Central Park; James Taylor did it, Diana Ross did it, there was a thunderstorm. They're so legendary, I get mixed up about which ones I was actually at and which ones I just absorbed as a kid and convinced myself I'd been to."

Lethem's upcoming book sees the author returning to New York, and he says it's a "long, strange novel about the Upper East Side." Like Gossip Girl for adults, maybe? "Oh yeah! I don't know — I haven't seen Gossip Girl so I can't compare them. I don't know how to compare it. It's kind of just a big, crazy novel about bohemians who snuck into these rent-controlled apartments in the middle of where all the wealthy people live." OMG — can you, like, imagine if Rufus, Dan, and Jenny tried to infiltrate the Palace like that? —Fiona Byrne