Toby Lichtig

Small Town Tales

Pieces for the Left Hand


Granta 213pp £10 order from our bookshop

J Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand comprises one hundred literary titbits, mostly no longer than a page – a smorgasbord of condensed observations about middle America in the form of finely honed parables. Lennon’s voice is wry, and the style always plain, though the tales range from the prosaic to the paranormal. His medium is absurdity, and perhaps his foremost target is human affectation – starting with his own. In the introduction, we are told how he regards his writerly solitude: ‘with a kind of moral superiority’. This he ‘swiftly quashes, but not without a moment of amusement at his own vanity’. ‘The author’, we are told, ‘is often amused by his faults.’

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,
    • 'It is a scent of animal wrath, of instinctive need, of brutal life which affects the cultured nostrils of our civi… ,
    • 'The day produced countless stories of chance, of people taking one route or another without realising that the dec… ,