“The Empty Room” — Jonathan Lethem

You can read “The Empty Room” by Jonathan Lethem in full at The Paris Review; the piece is part of the new summer issue, which is pretty great so far (Bolaño, William Gibson, poems, art, etc.). From “The Empty Room”—

Earliest memory: father tripping on strewn toys, hopping with toe outraged, mother’s rolling eyes. For my father had toys himself. He once brought a traffic light home to our apartment on the thirty-somethingth floor of the tower on Columbus Avenue. The light, its taxi yellow gone matte from pendulum-years above some polluted intersection and crackled like a Ming vase’s glaze where bolts had been overtightened and then eased, sat to one side of the coffee table it was meant to replace as soon as my father found an ­appropriate top. In fact, the traffic light would follow us up the Hudson, to Darby, to the house with the empty room. There it never escaped the garage.

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