Here's my favorite bit--one of my favorite bits of anything, when you get down to it:
Georges De Tooth was our resident deconstructionist, a tiny, horse-faced man who dressed in impeccable pinstriped suits, spoke in a feigned poly-European accent, and wore an overlarge, ill-fitting, white-blong wig. He could be seen hurrying between the English department and his car, an enormous leather briefcase gripped in both arms as if it were the cover of a manhole from which he had just emerged. Or sitting in faculty meetings, silent and pensive, chewing on the stem of an unloaded pipe, often held with the bowl facing sideways or down. The library housed a dozen or so of his slim, unreadable volumes, as well as a thick anthology of savage attacks by his enemies. He lived in a room at the YMCA. He had for fifteen years.That's perfect, in my view. Lethem, like all great writers, is uneven, and I've kvetched about his stuff here before--but when he's good, he's great. This book actually has more heft than I remember--not physical heft, mind you--and I had completely forgotten the ending, which accomplishes the near-impossibility of living up to expectations.
It's not even worth saying what this novel is about. I could be a wag and say it's about nothing--way more about nothing than Seinfeld ever was--but that, as No. 2 used to say, would be telling. Suffice it to say that it's about a physics experiment that turns into a philosophical conundrum that turns into a romance. And that it contains the beautifully awful line, "Something happened to my penis."