Novelist Jonathan Lethem Likes to Be Surprised by His Own Stories

The idea for his new novel, The Arrest, came to him while he was on a cross-country drive from Maine to California.

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Episode Notes

This week, host Isaac Butler talks to novelist Jonathan Lethem about daily writing rituals, teaching writing, and the process behind Jonathan’s latest novel, The Arrest, which imagines a world in which most advanced technology stops working.

After the interview, Isaac and co-host June Thomas discuss the improvisational way that Jonathan plots out his novels.

In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, Jonathan talks about how he managed to find time to write when he was a young aspiring novelist working full-time jobs that didn’t involve writing. He also talks about a recent piece of Zoom theater that he loved.

Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to or give us a call at (304) 933-9675.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


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