"The Arrest," | Reviewed by Joan Kletzker
“The Arrest,” by Jonathan Lethem, is part sci-fi, part end of the world, part social commentary and utopia. It reads quickly with very short chapters and goes easily from event to event. The dialogue and the narration are very well done.
The story involves an island in Maine that has no cars, technology or firearms. Why technology has failed there is never explained, but people live off the land, have the minimum of services, such as a butcher. Someone lives in the library, but doesn’t allow anyone in. There are quirky characters throughout the story.
The main characters are two men, Sandy, known as the Journeyman, and Peter, a film producer and writer. Sandy and Peter went to college together and Sandy worked for Peter in Hollywood.
The men meet again in Maine as Peter arrives in a possibly nuclear-run contraption, The Blue Streak. People are not sure what to do with him or his machine. Peter alienates everyone with his stories and attitudes.
The island’s order is maintained, more or less, by residents and the Cordon, which is like a police group. There is no crime or city government, matters being decided by the citizens. There is a hint there might be a standoff between the Cordon and the people regarding Peter.
“The Arrest” is a non-violent story with humor that’s somewhat sardonic and satirical. This book was a fun, quick read.