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CanLit150

Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Ray Robertson Recommends

Lenny Bruce is Dead by Jonathan Goldstein

Lenny Bruce is Dead (2001)

(From Coach House Books)

"At McDonald's, when I'm throwing out the stuff on my tray, there's a point where I get scared that my wallet could have been on there, too. I always think, as everything is tumbling into the garbage, that I might have tossed my wallet on the tray and forgotten. It always feels possible."

So begins Jonathan Goldstein's first novel, Lenny Bruce is Dead. It's the story of Joshua, a young man who's uncertain about a lot more than the possible loss of his wallet. He might as well be talking about his whole life. Josh is having a hard time finding his way in the world; deciding on a career and keeping a girlfriend are too much to handle, not to mention the fact that after the death of his mother he has moved back into his childhood suburban home to be with his father, Chick. Oh, and then there's the arrival of the Moschiach (inventor of the infamous Love Lotion) to further complicate things.

Lenny Bruce Is Dead walks a tightrope between being searingly funny and poignant - you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll long for Love Lotion (and a Moschiach of your own). And you won't forget Josh – ineptitude, scatological neuroses, urban angst, self-deprecating humour and all.

Jonathan Goldstein

(From Coach House Books)

Jonathan Goldstein is the author of Lenny Bruce Is Dead, and is currently making waves as the host of the CBC Radio show Wire Tap. He lives in Montreal.