A Meaningful Life

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New York Review of Books, 1971 - Fiction - 214 pages
3 Reviews
L.J. Davis’s 1971 novel, A Meaningful Life, is a blistering black comedy about the American quest for redemption through real estate and a gritty picture of New York City in collapse. Just out of college, Lowell Lake, the Western-born hero of Davis’s novel, heads to New York, where he plans to make it big as a writer. Instead he finds a job as a technical editor, at which he toils away while passion leaks out of his marriage to a nice Jewish girl. Then Lowell discovers a beautiful crumbling mansion in a crime-ridden section of Brooklyn, and against all advice, not to mention his wife’s will, sinks his every penny into buying it. He quits his job, moves in, and spends day and night on demolition and construction. At last he has a mission: he will dig up the lost history of his house; he will restore it to its past grandeur. He will make good on everything that’s gone wrong with his life, and he will even murder to do it.

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User Review  - HenryKrinkle - LibraryThing

A young couple move to New York and settle into an aimless 9-5 life, it's monotony broken only by gin and Speed Racer reruns. When Lowell Lake decides to turn his life around by purchasing a grotesque ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - xieouyang - LibraryThing

This is a depressing story about Lowell Lake, a man whose life has no meaning (obviously by the title!); no matter what he does he does not seem to find a purpose for his life. Everything he does is ... Read full review

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About the author (1971)

L. J. Davis was  an author and prize-winning journalist who has contributed to The New York Times, Mother Jones, and Harper's, among other publications.

Jonathan Lethem is the author of seven novels, including Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude. He lives in Brooklyn and in Maine.

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