Friday, November 22, 2013

Jonathan Lethem rabbit


What's most incredible about Jonathan Lethem's rabbit is that it's so clean and precise, much like his novels. Bypassing details of the face, the author focused more on a structured outline including the basic necessities such as ears, feet and whiskers. The tail seems like an afterthought, although the rabbit's facing forward, half-drawn as if to punctuate the situation with a question mark. 

For an author known for his straight-forward narrative, it's also no surprise that Lethem qualifies the drawing with an explanation: Here's a rabbit. Just in case someone shows up wondering if the rabbit was a part of the signature or some sort of random graffiti drive-by, which makes sense since Fortress of Solitude features graffiti tagging in the early coming-of-age bits. 

I've never studied the science of loops and dashes in signatures, but I'm sure the crossed-loop t and the slashed zigzag mean something, along with the body of water underneath, which the rabbit seems to be jumping into feet first. I like the fact that the rabbit's a little bit on the portly side, which makes it seem jolly like a laughing Buddha, versus obese from too many candy corns. 

Perhaps it's a mother rabbit descending from the painful place from which Lethem's fictional mothers are banished--leaving sons motherless (in Brooklyn)--fist out like a vigilante to punch issues of belonging away once and for all. Playful yet precise is the overall verdict here. But nothing too crazy. Confidence is clear. Topped off with a pert daub of artistic spirit.

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