Take a look at how Essrog's character and the story is described by the publisher -
“Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn's very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent's Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna's limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel's colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim's widow skips town. Lionel's world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.Lethem's novel - winner of the National Book Critic's Circle Award for Fiction - is set in current day NYC but Norton's script places the story of the obsessive detective in New York in the mid 50's - one of my favorite city/time period combinations.
Brett Ratnor, partnering with Norton to produce the film, told Deadline:
“We all know Edward Norton is one of the most compelling actors of our generation, but I also know he’s an exceptional writer and filmmaker,” said Ratner, who directed Norton in the 2002 adaptation of the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon. “As soon as I read his script for Motherless Brooklyn I knew this was a project I wanted to get involved with and am thrilled to partner up with Edward and Class 5. Edward’s script has melded elements of Jonathan Lethem’s terrific novel with an original story that at once feels classic and entirely fresh. And with Edward playing Lionel Essrog, the brilliant private detective with Tourette’s Syndrome, this will be a tour de force performance.”
Norton is currently starring in the Wes Anderson-directed The Grand Budapest Hotel and recently wrapped the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed comedy Birdman.
I haven't read this one but the character sounds too good to miss so I'll put it over in that ever-growing pile of books I gotta get to. How about you?