The Fortress of Solitude Epub â The Fortress Epub /

The Fortress of Solitude From the prize winning author of Motherless Brooklyn a daring riotous sweeping novel that spins the tale of two friends and their adventures in late 20th century AmericaThis is the story of two boys Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude They live in Brooklyn and are friends and neighbours; but since Dylan is white and Mingus is black their friendship is not simpleThis is the story of 1970s America a time when the simplest decisions what music you listen to whether to speak to the kid in the seat next to you whether to give up your lunch money are laden with potential political social and racial disaster This is also the story of 1990s America when nobody cared anyThis is the story of what would happen if two teenaged boys obsessed with comic book heroes actually had superpowers they would screw up their lives


10 thoughts on “The Fortress of Solitude

  1. Violet wells Violet wells says:

    Fortress of Solitude depicts a world in which there is no such thing as a responsible adult It might be deemed a coming of age novel except its two central characters Dylan white and Mingus black whom we meet when they are both twelve never grow up even though by the end of the novel they are both in their thirties Ironically the impoverished Brooklyn neighbourhood where they live does grow up does become a responsible adult by the time Dylan is in his thirties it has become gentrified Both Dylan and Mingus have been abandoned by their mothers Both are brought up by maverick fathers on the same street in the 1970s Dylan’s safety in the largely hostile black neighbourhood is constantly menaced though his friendship with the streetwise Mingus offers solace and even a little protectionWhether you love or hate this novel will depend largely on whether or not you warm to Lethem’s virtuoso highly detailed prose style Sometimes he can make you see the familiar in a new and searing light; other times he has a tendency perhaps to over paint his canvases so detail is obscured in overly mannered intricacies of imagery On the whole I was full of admiration for Lethem’s wordsmithery He’s among the boldest writer of sentences of living novelistsFortress of Solitude is a brilliant account of boyhood and especially its defining moments of triumph and humiliation which Lethem gives eual resonance to He doesn’t go overboard with the bullying Dylan endures the daily humiliation of being “yoked” It’s also a deft and incredibly sensitive observation of blackwhite relations in 1970s New York Mingus especially is a great character and there’s something genuinely moving and ultimately heartbreaking about the friendship Dylan and Mingus share It’s also a brilliant depiction of urban New York in the 1970 and 80s especially with regards to the roles played by graffiti and music The playful subplot of this novel is a magical ring that enables its wearer to become a superhero Aeroman Comics emblematic of fantasy in general play a major role in the formation of all the young boys In the scenes where the ring plays a part Lethem challenges your ability to sustain disbelief to the maximum because otherwise this is a work of gritty realism and probing psychologyMusic is another theme And especially soul music because this is a novel about soul the haunted soul unable to uite find its native ground in the world Mingus’ father apparently is modelled on Marvin Gaye It’s a much ambitious novel than Motherless Brooklyn and because of its sprawling nature not for me as successful but still a brilliant achievement though it should also be said that the first two thirds is a great deal engaging and moving than the last third


  2. Jason Pettus Jason Pettus says:

    Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography cclapcentercom I am the original author of this essay as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegallySoon after opening CCLaP in the summer of 2007 one of the first books I had a chance to review was what at the time was Jonathan Lethem's latest You Don't Love Me Yet; and as long time readers remember I found that book to be a nearly unreadable pile of horsesh t so bad in fact that it served as the inaugural entry of my old Too Awful to Finish essay series a series I eventually shut down again because of it being just too damn mean And that's when I started hearing from all of Lethem's fans telling me that I should give this grad student panty moistener another chance that I had simply picked the wrong book of his to start out with Read The Fortress of Solitude instead all these academes argued That's the good one You'll like that That's the one that got all the award nominations You'll like that oneSo this week I finally did yet another older title I'm getting caught up with through new Netflix for books service BookSwimcom which I'm in the middle of a courtesy two month membership with in exchange for doing a write up about my experience here in mid December And it was at this point in fact about 50 pages in the point when I angrily gave up on this book that I realized that a little theory I've had about the arts for some time now seems to be coming and true with every new book I read with every year I continue being a book critic namely academes don't know what the f ck they're talking about and in the process are completely wrecking the entire literary industry we all used to know and love I mean how else to explain these people's baffling love for this unmitigated piece of garbage which much like Augusten Burroughs presents a ridiculously overwritten pop culture laced memoir of 1970s Gen X childhood featuring excruciatingly precious slang filled magic realism dialogue and with insanely too much gravitas assigned to such plotless meanderings as kids watching bad television and eavesdropping on their intellectual parents' insultingly banal conversations?And then I realized oh right of course this is an early 2000s novel by a white academe about how much white people suck specifically the story of the re whitening of Brooklyn starting in the late '70s after the New York borough turning into an ethnic slum following World War Two a process called gentrification that has by 2009 turned nearly the entire city into a Caucasian hipster fantasyland; and man if there's one thing that's become an undeniable truism by now it's that back in the '90s and early '00s academes tended to automatically fall in love with preciously overwritten screeds by self loathing white males about the horrors of their fellow Caucasians with the same kind of burning passion that say dogs love licking their own f cking ballsF CK YOU SELF LOATHING GRAD STUDENTS Stop ruining the entire subject of literature for the rest of us by falsely trumpeting these unreadable pieces of horsesh t by such preciously twee suck ass fellow self loathing academes J sus F cking Chr st no godd mn wonder that the general public has stopped reading novels any when you all keep running around handing out awards to execrable f cking turds like this Please PLEASE for the love of GOD no worshipping of overwritten plotless Gen X pop culture obsessed '70s memoir drivel PLEASE STOP I'M F CKING BEGGING YOU STOP STOP STOPOut of 10 00


  3. Rachel Rachel says:

    I finally finished this thing It's pretty good but the first half is so much better than the second half There is some real magic amidst the nostalgia in Lethem's story of growing up in Brooklyn in the '70s But the whole beginning seems like it's leading up to some great climax and that climax never comes As the main character grows up an exaggeration for the emotionally underdeveloped thirtysomething he is by the end he becomes a wanky self absorbed snob rock geek which may have been awesome during the peak of High Fidelity's popularity totally Lethem's generation but is definitely not interesting to me at this point There is only so much name dropping and Gen X navel gazing I can handle If Lethem or his main character Dylan Ebdus who's hard do distinguish from Lethem himself stopped for one moment to look at his uniue story critically instead of putting it on a pedestal or using it to defend himself from reality the book would be ten times better


  4. Mattia Ravasi Mattia Ravasi says:

    Video review epic tale of gentrification and crushed hopes The Fortress of Solitude is one of the densest books I've ever read each page packed with lives and dreams and misery It's depressing as fuck and crazy on so many levels but for the sheer glow of its ambitiousness it's a pleasure to read for anyone who's passionate about American literature and culture


  5. M.L. Rio M.L. Rio says:

    I FINALLY FINISHED THIS BOOK WHAT YEAR IS IT


  6. Patrick Sprunger Patrick Sprunger says:

    I half expected to find that Jonathan Lethem is one of those authors that readers either love or hate but was surprised by how mad the people who hate him are Personally I fall into the former camp those who love Mr Lethem's work Let me explain whyJonathan Lethem creates the most absurd scenarios possible and then crafts ingenious narratives around them To describe a book like Fortress of Solitude to someone not already familiar with Mr Lethem's work reuires a lot of ualification To do so with some of his other stories his short stories in particular can be almost embarrassing There's this white kid and black kid and they come across a homeless man with a magic ring They get the ring and use it to blaze graffiti on tall buildings in an urban turf rite Bootsy Collins stops by to chat on occasion It sounds hideously stupidBut it's not I imagine Mr Lethem's process is this 1 Come up with something absolutely bonkers like magic rings Fortress of Solitude this book or a former child star colluding with a mutant crustacean to take over the world a different Lethem story Interview with the Crab or exo suits that give normal people the physical attributes of great NBA players of yesteryear Vanilla Dunk 2 Make it interesting I imagine guiding characters like Dylan Ebdus Mingus Rude and Aaron X Doily through a meaningful narrative is a tremendous challenge I imagine a man who's up to such a challenge derives a great deal of satisfaction from it It's like being the world's greatest dungeon master instant pariah status What I find strange though is that Jonathan Lethem is essentially a contemporary of Neil Gaiman And while folks love Mr Gaiman because of his command of mythology fascination with nightmare states and melodious English accent they seem to hate Jonathan Lethem We live in a time where otherwise healthy adults devour young adult fiction You'd think Jonathan Lethem's work would be right up the mainstream's alley Only it would be better because it's not for kids


  7. Colin McKay Miller Colin McKay Miller says:

    Storytelling has changed It used to be that stories unfolded slowly sometimes even lethargically until rising to the climactic finish Think about the classics you like—most likely slow start strong finish These days stories begin at a rapid pace but seem to lose momentum by the end When I think about recent popular titles even ones I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this disappointment is usually present Maybe it’s the immediacy of the modern day culture but it’s rare to find an ending up to the neo pace set by the initial chaptershour in movieland terms Unfortunately Jonathan Letham’s The Fortress of Solitude is no different The story centers around Dylan Edbus a young white boy sent to public school in a nearly all black neighborhood in 1970’s Brooklyn New York Attacks and abuse run high but Dylan forges a friendship with his neighbor Mingus Rude Despite their differences in family Dylan from white hippies Mingus from a cocaine addicted formerly popular black singer they soon share disappointments in that area Letham paints a strong picture of the charm and volatility of the Dean Street neighborhood His social commentary on race relations comic books music and decades of life in Brooklyn are strong and rarely heavy handed Then there’s that slow descent from the great first part of the book the point where the flaws of modern storytelling hit and bleed out the vein of what could have been one of the great books of the decade It’s a shame because the first part is amazing Not casual amazing but actually amazing in its craft and prose four stars and reaching higher Then the rest of the book comes with a shift in time perspective and uality Even though the story finishes fantastical and strong with one of the rare successful surrealistic uses of what could be superhero powers the drop from the peak set by the first part of the book leaves the reader in too low of a valley to ignore Three stars


  8. Clark Clark says:

    What a shit storm This is one of the plodding books I have engaged in my time as a reader It ranks up there with one of the only other books I have abandoned Updike's Rabbit Run Updike and Lethem also hold the distinction of being some of the worst writers of prose I have encountered My god I hate the way they writeNot recommended


  9. Ayelet Waldman Ayelet Waldman says:

    Well this is the one If you only read one book this year read this one It's devastating brilliant all those things the blurbs say it is


  10. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

    Second Lethem Last Lethem


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