You Don't Love Me Yet

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You Don't Love Me Yet
Author Jonathan Lethem
Country United States
Language English
Published 2007 (Doubleday)
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 240 pp
ISBN 978-0-385-51218-3
Preceded by How We Got Insipid
Followed by Chronic City

You Don't Love Me Yet (2007) is a comic novel about alternative music from Jonathan Lethem, set in modern Los Angeles.

Plot summary[edit]

Lucinda Hoekke is an underemployed woman in her late twenties, playing bass in a fledgling Los Angeles rock group. There are three other members: Matthew, the group's lead singer and Lucinda's ex-boyfriend, who kidnaps a kangaroo from the local zoo to save it from boredom; Denise, the clear-headed drummer, works at "No Shame," a sex shop; and Bedwin, the group's composer and lead guitarist, who is very fragile and suffers from writer's block. Bedwin watches the same Fritz Lang movie repeatedly.

Lucinda takes a job at a performance art project called, "Complaint Line," listening to anonymous callers talk about their grievances. She falls for a regular caller, initially known only as the "Complainer," who amuses her with his acerbic reflections about life and self-deprecating humor. She begins using his musings as song lyrics, inspiring her band to new heights of creativity. She becomes obsessed with the complainer, whose name is Carl, and begins an unstable all-consuming love affair with him.

The band's unexpectedly successful performance at a loft party leads to an invitation to appear live on Los Angeles' leading alternative music radio program. However, Carl, who uses his lyrics to force his way into the band, disrupts their radio broadcast, leading to romantic and musical consequences.

Reception and analysis[edit]

You Don't Love Me Yet received mixed reviews. In his promotional appearance at Google, Lethem attributed this reaction to the novel's intentionally silly and light tone. He claimed that the novel was supposed to follow the form of a romantic comedy and was his most "funny" and "sexy" book. He argued that the novel's central theme was the mystery of artistic influence, borrowing and collaboration, the individual artist's murky relationship to the world around him. He thought that this theme could best be explored in the context of a rock band, since band members are often much greater artists collectively than they are as individuals in a way that is difficult to explain clearly. He also noted that musicians often borrow banal pieces of popular culture and give them new and exciting meanings.[citation needed]