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Jonathan Lethem: “My work is taken so seriously, maybe excessively seriously”

Jonathan Lethem is about to release his most ambitious book yet -- no small statement.

The author of much-hailed novels, including "Motherless Brooklyn" and "The Fortress of Solitude," returns with "Dissident Gardens," a sprawling, time-hopping novel that takes on the history of intellectual protest, and of New York, in the 20th century. Extrapolating outward from a loosely defined family, Lethem's book finds room for New York baseball, quiz shows, race relations, Archie Bunker, homosexuality, academia and a misguided jungle adventure.