Blacknell.net

Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Fortress of Solitude

I just finished (a few years after everyone else did, apparently) Fortress of Solitude, by Jonathan Lethem.  It is an  . . . *amazing*  examination of race.  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.  Read it.

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2 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. MB

    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.

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