It's pretty short, which is because I was writing to their expected length.
Cassell, 1994 (TP: Tor, 1995)
$19.95 (TP: $10.95)
ISBN 0151364583 (TP: 0312858787)
However, this is more than a standard SF take on Chandler. The SF elements themselves, though not terribly plausible, are interesting and thought-provoking, and well-integrated with the structure and themes of the novel. These include universal drug use for (fairly precise) control of emotional states, wildly extrapolated privacy laws, babyheads (children with vastly accelerated mental growth but normal physical growth), and intelligent, self-aware animals (the result of "evolution therapy"). Some of these tropes are use to generate jokes, but for the most part they support and reinforce the central story and the themes in which Lethem is interested. Ultimately, this is a serious, funny-sad novel, and at the heart of it are big questions about memory and the nature of personality. (These questions, and other elements of the novel such as the drug use, are very reminiscent of the work of Philip K. Dick.) Lethem handles the mixture of moods excellently, and the resolution to his story is perfect and satisfying. This is a very exciting first novel from one of the most promising new SF writers of the past few years.