The Arrest

The arrival of a strange man and an even stranger vehicle upend an isolated community in Jonathan Lethem's post-apocalyptic Maine.

Sandy Duplessis was a successful Hollywood screenwriter whose life, along with everyone else's, was turned upside down by an event called the Arrest. "Without warning except every warning possible it had come." The Internet, television, phones, guns and all other forms of technology stopped working, and wherever people were at the time of the Arrest became their permanent homes. For Duplessis, his post-Arrest life in rural Maine includes a new name, Journeyman, and jobs delivering food from his sister Maddie's farm and helping the town butcher ducks.

Then comes a shocking arrival: a self-powered vehicle called the Blue Streak. The enormous machine, fueled by a nuclear reactor and capable of traveling over land and water, contains an even bigger surprise: Peter Todbaum, Journeyman's former writing partner, who drove the Blue Streak from Los Angeles to Maine. Bearing stories of his travels across the country, Todbaum holds court for the town's wary residents. For Journeyman and Maddie--who was romantically involved with Todbaum pre-Arrest but fled and never looked back--Todbaum's presence is worrying. What does he want?

Lethem (The Feral Detective) is a versatile writer known for presenting unusual perspectives, and The Arrest lives up to that reputation. And while Lethem's post-apocalyptic world is not exactly a dystopia--organic food and marijuana are not in short supply--low-level fear still permeates daily life. Brimming with offbeat characters and a distinct vision for a calamitous future, The Arrest is speculative fiction at its most intriguing. --Frank Brasile, librarian

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