As She Climbed Across the Table

Lethem, Jonathan. As She Climbed Across the Table. Read by David Aaron Baker. Maryland: Books on Tape, 2007.

Reason read: February is Lethem’s birth month.

I love Jonathan Lethem’s voice. The style he writes in is so casual, so sly you feel like you need to reread the words to make sure you haven’t missed something important or at least clever. As She Climbed Across the Table is told from the perspective of Anthropology professor Philip. The story he tells you is at once heartbreaking and humorous. His girlfriend and colleague, particle physicist Alice Coombs has fallen in love with a void, a tiny black hole. The only problem with this? The void, named Lack for obvious reasons, has refused Alice’s attempts to lose herself in his depths. This “lack” of affection on Lack’s part only makes Alice desire him more. Why? Because it seems as if he (because it has to be a he for Alice to love) has a personality capable of rejection. He will devour car keys and other items of significance, but not Alice.

As an aside: When Alice repeatedly admits she loves Lack the way she used to love Philip, (but doesn’t anymore), I wanted Philip to be more rebellious. Here is he, allowing crazy, non-speaking, dopey Alice to live in the same apartment all the while refusing the advances of a beautiful and smart therapist who is practically throwing herself at him. Am I too cold blooded to think Philip should have developed more of a “screw you” spine?

Author Fact: This is not a fact per se…but, I ran into a photo of Jonathan Lethem and in it he looked sorta, kinda, somewhat like Mike Gordon from the band Phish. Not exactly like him, mind you. But, close enough to be his kid brother or something.

Audio trivia: David Aaron Baker does a great job with voice accents. The part when Philip is drunk is hilarious.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the obvious chapter “Jonathan Lethem: Too Good To Miss” (p 146).

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