Or How We Got Along After The Wifi Went Down. The Arrest is an ambiguous utopia/dystopia in which advanced technology – from the internet to cars and guns – has all stopped working. At its simplest this is Lethem’s entry into the crowded canon of The Road, Station Eleven, Oryx and Crake and so on. As an avowed scifi reader Lethem also gives strong callbacks to post-apocalyptic classics such as Philip K. Dick’s Dr Bloodmoney and Walter M. Miller’s Canticle for Leibowitz.
Unlike the irradiated hellholes, biological swamps or fascist regimes of many of these, Lethem’s post-tech life – seen through the eyes of unreliable narrator Journeyman AKA former Hollywood screenwriter Sandy – is not so bad. Shorn of distractions such as Netflix and international travel, a small community in Maine ekes out a pretty sweet existence in which piles of sausages and hearty soups round the fire are the chief joys of life. Just as he was a journeyman writer Before The Fall – a polisher and fixer-upper of scripts – so he is now the Journeyman, assisting the butcher (bank manager pre-Arrest) and delivering parcels across the peninsula. The farmers – led by Sandy’s sister Maddie, » Continue Reading.