From The Washington Post:
Jonathan Lethem's brilliant, bloated new novel about the hollowness of modern life should delight his devoted fans — and put them on the defensive. They will point, justifiably, to the exquisite wit and dazzling intricacy of every single paragraph. In the pages of “Chronic City,” all 467 of them, this super-hip, genre-blurring, MacArthur-winning, best-selling novelist proves he's one of the most elegant stylists in the country, and he's capable of spinning surreal scenes that are equal parts noir and comedy. But ultimately, these perfectly choreographed sentences compose a tedious reading experience in which redundancy substitutes for development and effect for profundity.
This is a strange study of the shimmering unreality of New York City, full of knowing references to its culture, politics, celebrities, aristocrats and authors. The story takes place as a series of long monologues and conversations, both cerebral and silly. The narrator, Chase Insteadman, is a handsome bon vivant, “a Manhattan gadabout,” who skates on “frictionless ball bearings of charm” and lives off residuals from his days as a child TV star.