It’s good to know I’m not the only one who gets behind on the news. Sometimes even newspapers get behind on the news. The Washington Post (“Writing Under the Influence,” by Bob Thompson), using Jonathan Lethem’s March-published novel, You Don’t Love Me Yet, as a peg, is just now getting around to talking to him about his great essay (“The Ecstasy of Influence“) in the February issue of Harper’s.
No, no, Jonathan Lethem concedes, he’s not really in favor of plagiarism. At least not the deceptive, thieving kind.
But he does want to spark an argument that will “explode the word.”
The Brooklyn-bred novelist (“Motherless Brooklyn,” “Fortress of Solitude”) is fascinated by what he calls “the mysteries of authorship — the idea that things arise in culture that don’t quite belong to anyone.”