by Jonathan Lethem
from the May 18, 2020 issue of The New Yorker
Later this year Lethem’s novel The Arrest will be published, but it appears “The Afterlife” is not an excerpt since Lethem says in his New Yorker interview that the idea for this story came in January. “The Afterlife” seems to be a story about just that:
R., a sculptor, rode a shuttle bus to the afterlife. He had no baggage. That the destination was the afterlife was understood, a given. This fact R. couldn’t have explained. He didn’t have to. None of the others on the bus—it was loosely packed, perhaps a third of the seats full—challenged R.’s certainty. They knew as well.
I’ve never read any of Lethem’s novels. My familiarity with his work is modest and based solely on what he’s published in The New Yorker over the years. Nothing has compelled me to pick up his books, but maybe this one will? What do you think?
I look forward to reading your thoughts below!