I just finished (a few years after everyone else did, apparently) Fortress of Solitude, by Jonathan Lethem.Â It is anÂ . . . *amazing*Â examination of race.Â I have never come across a book (or article, or movie, or . . .) that has done a better job of capturing the impact of race in the 70s and 80s.Â Read it.
See, I thought it was almost a great book, but not quite. Mostly that was because the magical realism (for lack of a better term) stuff didn’t quite work for me, but also because I was really frustrated that we didn’t hear from Mingus until so close to the end. I think the examination of race would have been more interesting if we could have heard both sides earlier on.
But I think I need to reread it. I did this one as an audio book and it left me with so many “what the fuck?” moments that I probably ought to try it again the old-fashioned way.
We had a brief but kind of good discussion about it over here.
Thanks for the pointer.
The magical realism was a bit jarring, I agree. For me, it didn’t add anything to the story . . . until we got to Mingus and Robert Woolfolk in jail. What happened there was exactly on point.
I’ve been thinking about this book for a few days now, and I’m realizing that I don’t really have much useful criticism from a literary point of view.
From a personal point of view, though? This book absolutely catches it. I was not Dylan Ebdus (tho’ Nita might have been, I bet), but I absolutely understand him. In a fundamental way.