A Meaningful Life (2020)

A Meaningful Life L.J. Davis Jonathan Lethem A Meaningful Life L J Davis s novel A Meaningful Life is a blistering black comedy about the American quest for redemption through real estate and a gritty picture of New York City in collapse Just out of colleg
  • Title: A Meaningful Life
  • Author: L.J. Davis Jonathan Lethem
  • ISBN: 9781590173008
  • Page: 382
  • Format: Paperback
A Meaningful Life L.J. Davis Jonathan Lethem L.J Davis s 1971 novel, A Meaningful Life, is a blistering black comedy about the American quest for redemption through real estate and a gritty picture of New York City in collapse Just out of college, Lowell Lake, the Western born hero of Davis s novel, heads to New York, where he plans to make it big as a writer Instead he finds a job as a technical editor, at whichL.J Davis s 1971 novel, A Meaningful Life, is a blistering black comedy about the American quest for redemption through real estate and a gritty picture of New York City in collapse Just out of college, Lowell Lake, the Western born hero of Davis s novel, heads to New York, where he plans to make it big as a writer Instead he finds a job as a technical editor, at which he toils away while passion leaks out of his marriage to a nice Jewish girl Then Lowell discovers a beautiful crumbling mansion in a crime ridden section of Brooklyn, and against all advice, not to mention his wife s will, sinks his every penny into buying it He quits his job, moves in, and spends day and night on demolition and construction At last he has a mission he will dig up the lost history of his house he will restore it to its past grandeur He will make good on everything that s gone wrong with his life, and he will even murder to do it.
A Meaningful Life L.J. Davis Jonathan Lethem

  • [MOBI] ☆ A Meaningful Life | BY ✓ L.J. Davis Jonathan Lethem
    382 L.J. Davis Jonathan Lethem
  • thumbnail Title: [MOBI] ☆ A Meaningful Life | BY ✓ L.J. Davis Jonathan Lethem
    Posted by:L.J. Davis Jonathan Lethem
    Published :2019-08-22T02:44:42+00:00

One thought on “A Meaningful Life

  1. Kristen

    Granted, I am biased here, because I live in Brooklyn, specifically one of those relatively newly gentrified neighborhoods So I came to this with something of a voyeuristic bent And like any good New Yorker, I m generally fascinated by real estate So, a novel about a guy who moves to Brooklyn in the early 70s and renovates a crumbling mansion in a crime infested area sounded appealing, for anthropological reasons if nothing else.But then I realized, as I read, that this book is also dark, cynica [...]

  2. Drew

    What is the meaning of crime Is it criminals robbin innocent mothafuckers every time Little shorties take walks to the schoolyardTryin to solve the puzzles to why is life so hardThen as soon as they reach the playground POWShots ring off and now one of em lay downIt s so hard to escape the gunfire I wish I could rule it out like a umpireBut it s an everlasting game and it never cease to exist, only the players change All I can say about this book is that it s dangerous It hit me like a bottle to [...]

  3. Allan

    I reread this book on a city break to NYC specifically because I was staying in a still gentrifying area of Brooklyn, and having remembered appreciating it the first time I read it a number of years ago To be honest, I d forgotten the blackly comedic aspect of the book the narrative reminded me a lot of JG Farrell in Troubles or Siege of Krishnapur , in the way that it was hard hitting at the same time as raising a chuckle at the antics of the protagonists.A biting satire on the eventual gentrif [...]

  4. Josh Friedlander

    This book s reviews don t do it justice it is a taut, brilliant, hands down modern classic It plays out against a background of gentrification in Brooklyn in the early 1970s, but importantly, it s an existential yell, a pitch perfect rendition of a young married professional for whom everything has come easily, whose life feels eerily empty.Lowell Lake comes up from a small town in Idaho to study at Stanford, marry his college sweetheart and, reluctantly, move to New York and take a job at a pl [...]

  5. Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    I always read the best books in the strangest of ways I put this book on my request list at the library and it finally came in for me a few weeks back I piddled around and didn t get to it and when I tried to renew it, I saw that I couldn t as it was on hold for someone else All this for a library book that looked so new the spine wasn t yet bent, but with a copyright date of 1971 How could I resist trying to read it before I had to return it This book has my book friend KK s name all over it an [...]

  6. Holly

    Like Jonathan Lethem in his introduction to this 1971 novel I was impressed by the great writing but made uncomfortable by how un PC it was This is a New York of another time, of course, and gentrification is a major theme of the novel Davis s protagonist Lowell Lake says of the neighborhood where he chooses to buy a 22 room mansion in disrepair that The scene was so hyperbolically poverty stricken that it didn t look real it looked contrived, like a set for some kind of incredible squalid versi [...]

  7. Bree (AnotherLookBook)

    A novel about a failed writer who wakes up one day and realizes his life has no meaning, so he goes in search of some 1971.Full review and other recommendations at Another look bookNot the kind of book I usually read, but I enjoyed this one a lot It reminded me in many ways of Wish Her Safe at Home, in that it takes a nice but sort of crazy pitiful character and puts them in an old house, which then takes over their life It s like a modernist approach to all those D.E Stevenson type books about [...]

  8. Mark

    Like its protagonist, the drab and listless Lowell Lake, A Meaningful Life is difficult to love, an unredemptive and mostly overlooked gentrification cum alienation tale in the vein of Nathanael West Transplanted from school in California, Lake and his wife, natives of the Midwest and Brooklyn, respectively, land in New York in the midst of the Bad Old Days and commence a colorless but sheltered life on the Upper West Side Brief flickers of ambition give way to the relative comfort of 9 5s, peri [...]

  9. Graham P

    A Meaningful Life is a seething assault on what it means to live in New York City, how a life of little substance gets absorbed into the great melting pot mass and slowly loses its shape, its purpose, its meaning This is urban existentialism and dread narrated with acidic reflection, brimming with metaphors that are ugly, mean spirited, but downright hilarious in how they skewer the ruined psyche of the main character, Lowell Lake How Davis manages to be so bleak and so damn funny at the same ti [...]

  10. Michael

    An intriguing book that verges on the fantastical about a New York from another era It lacked a certain something to put it over the edge, but it s still worth seeking out.

  11. J.

    A short novel that feels endless at times, a what can go wrong will go wrong tale, the story of an epic fail, in the trenches of urban gentrification and renovation Author Davis seems to have a short story that is perfect for a New Yorker humor column, maybe, that he has extrapolated into a full novel in length At times it s a charmingly exasperating kind of strategy, able to include all kinds of asides and sidebars that stray from the action but enhance the story and characters At other times, [...]

  12. A.C. Collins

    Not long after Lowell Lake s 30th birthday he awakes in the wee hours of the morning in a panic over the realization that he has reached his peak in life His job, his station there s nothing for him and he feels he has done all he can do That evening, while preparing dinner with his wife, he remarks, I know what my problem is I m not having a meaningful life There you have it in a nutshell Lowell tries to add meaning to his seemingly meaningless life by spending his life s savings on a run down [...]

  13. Tara

    This book just randomly jumped out at me when I was hustling through the shelves at the library For some reason I stopped and pulled it out, and noticed there is an intro by Jonathon Lethem, one of whom s books I weirdly happened to be holding in my hands and was about to check out It was synchronistic so I grabbed this book too.What a great book I am almost done and loving it The main character is so passive, it is so annoying and frustrating to me, I want to jump into the pages and shake him r [...]

  14. Jhoanna

    You should definitely read this book, if only for the sole purpose of reassuring yourself that your life is definitely, enormously, ridiculously better than Lowell Lake s, whose charmed, though boring, youth he unwittingly blackmails a local politician into paying for his Stanford education he the politician thinks that Lowell knows about his secret gay dalliances at his Lowell s parents motel, about which Lowell, of course, knows nothing takes a decided turn when he marries the wrong girl and e [...]

  15. Eric

    A bleak satire of the search for personal fulfillment through real estate Written in 1971, it remains strikingly topical today, awash as we are in HGTV and the myriad other home improvement products A listless man who married poorly and woke up one day to find his artistic dreams thwarted, he attempts to reassert himself through urban pioneering, but ultimately finds himself overcome by events beyond his control.I can only give this book three stars because the middle of the book drags down with [...]

  16. Rachel Elizabeth

    Very bleak, but so funny Hard to believe it was written nearly 40 years ago Lowell s inner dialogue is probably the most accurately neurotic one I ve read Soul food and his subsequent self scolding made me laugh so hard I realized about 20 pages in that it was probably going to end with him killing someone, and I was OK with that Someone so neurotic with so much despair is going to plateau in some way I understood Lowell perhaps than I should.

  17. Pascale

    This is exactly what I look to NYRB Classics for a minor gem from a writer who failed to establish himself in spite of a varied and not undistinguished output I found myself rooting for this guy stuck in a boring job who decides to reclaim his life by renovating a mansion in a dodgy Brooklyn neighborhood we are in the late 1960s while sharing his wife s aggravation with him His futile battle is heart rending and the book has just the right amount of high comedy.

  18. Tom

    Very clever and fun And the renovated house is on Washington Avenue in Fort Greene, I think, which is way cool I love the understated humor and I could really relate to the protagonist All of the characters seemed extremely fresh the book was published in 1971 The wife s dialogue was especially brilliant, as were the parents from Boise The end was a little odd and didn t seem entirely in keeping with the rest of the novel I will say no .

  19. ems

    on the one hand, this was funny at times it was also weirdly zeitgeisty for a novel written in 71 but this is the story of manhattan newspaperman who wakes up one morning and decides that, even though he has a nice place and a nice wife and a nice job he just isn t happy.

  20. Helena

    Davis s hilarious and horrifying ode to New York is a new shibboleth in my quest for a literary soul mate.

  21. Rodolfo Santullo

    Lowell Lake acaba de cumplir 30 a os y se impone, no por opci n sino de manera absolutamente involuntaria, un balance Goza de buena salud, est razonablemente casado, ha podido estudiar lo que ha querido, vive en Manhattan y tiene un trabajo que si bien no es nada del otro mundo no le molesta demasiado ni le requiere grandes exigencias Pero tiene un problema no ha logrado tener una vida plena Qu es una vida plena Lowell no lo sabe, pero s sabe que no la tiene y que, por tanto y por primera vez en [...]

  22. Trevor Ambrico

    This book feels like Vonnegut meets Kafka Darkly humorous, yet lightly written sometimes it made me laugh out loud, other times it offended me Lowell Lake is our pathetic protagonist who has somewhat of a midlife crisis and realizes that his life has not become what he had expected in it In his search for meaning he purchases an old crumbling mansion in a bad part of Brooklyn that is inhabited by squatters His goal is to learn about the history of the place and restore it to his former glory, wi [...]

  23. Daniel Horner

    This is one of the most fun books I ve read in a long time I had to remind myself several times that it was a satire, because the casual racism of some of the characters was accurate for the period in which it was set But the book doesn t laud those characters Really, there s not a single person in this book that s got an excess of good character, but that s almost what makes it fun There s such amazing, bleak humor throughout this, and Davis writing style makes it a breeze to read It s not perf [...]

  24. Neven

    A lively urban farce in the vein of John Kennedy Toole and Charles Portis A bit meandering, a bit ridiculous, but often absolutely hilarious.

  25. Frank

    Even before I was 30 pages into this I absolutely loved this It starts off as some of the best comic writing I know rightaway, and it doesn t sag Tone and descriptions are important than the storyline, and Davis sustains his increasingly black comic tone to the end.The novel s starting point One morning not long after his thirtieth birthday, Lowell woke up with the sudden realization that his job was not temporary It was as though a fiery angel had visited him in his sleep with a message of doo [...]

  26. Keirstan

    Every once and a while I stumble across a book that is so eerily relatable I can hardly put it down L.J Davis s A Meaningful Life a story of redemption through real estate is one of those books The theme of stagnation permeates throughout the story, warning its readers of the consequences of passivity Lowell Lake has just turned thirty and has come to the stark realization that he hasn t done anything remarkable with his life He recounts an aimless youth that yielded him a Stanford education the [...]

  27. Andrew

    No matter how many books he read, he simply wasn t up to the mark This was not a new thing with him He d never been up to the mark His model airplanes had seldom flown, often fell apart, frequently were never finished, and never looked much like airplanes, despite an attention to the instructions that bordered on fantastical His dog had been run over before he finished building the doghouse, which persistently refused to come out right He couldn t even catch a ball Even when they came right to h [...]

  28. Lesley Horton

    It s difficult to articulate what I expected of this book But I didn t get it Not that that s a criticism of the book More of a comment about how reading too many reviews before sitting down with a book can be unhelpful Many reviewers describe this as a book about a renovation It isn t Some say, everything that can go wrong, does But it doesn t This is a book about a man who lives a privileged life and doesn t recognise it as such He had loving patents, a stable childhood, a good education, some [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *