Motherless Brooklyn is the first really successful novel by Jonathan Lethem. It’s about Lionel Essrog, a PI with Tourette’s. When his boss and father figure gets killed, he sets out to find out what happened to him.
It was a fascinating read – when I was younger I always dreamt of becoming a neurologist and curing Tourette’s. Those dreams abruptly ended when I discovered that I had to know chemistry for it to come true. Nevertheless, I still retained a fascination with it (and other neurological disorders). My curiousity was pretty satisfied by the read.
Lionel’s case of Tourette’s rather severe, his tics range from shoulder-tapping over counting to echolalia. You get used quickly to his tics and it gets weird when he doesn’t have to do them. You keep thinking that something’s missing.
The echolalia was the perfect “excuse” for Lethem to make some experiments with language which were amazing, opening up new layers of meaning just beyond what would have been written without it. [And I love the phrase dickweed. Just waiting for a chance to use it.]
The story itself is thoroughly thought through [(c) Stephen Fry] but not really surprising.