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The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
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The Fortress of Solitude

by Jonathan Lethem

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3,511632,311 (3.86)95
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Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
This book was a long way to go for not enough. There are plenty of beautiful and difficult moments well captured, but as a novel the thing just doesn't quite hang together for me. There seems to be an assumption that everything that is true about Brooklyn is interesting. Also, a thirty year jump needs a real excuse. It all seemed grand without real insight, which I think is called tedious. A serious attempt, but not a great achievement. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
He's written three of my all time favorite books (Motherless Brooklyn, Gun With Occasional Music and Chronic City)so I'm surprised and disappointed (with myself, I think) that I just can't get into this one. I'm sick and it's melancholy, so maybe it's just a bad combination right now.
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
I chose this book because I was considering Lethem’s most recent novel (“A Gambler’s Anatomy”) and one reviewer wrote that if you read one Lethem book, it should be this one. It was great. Semi-autobiographical. Dylan, son of idealistic but clueless hippies, desperately tries to survive his childhood in the late 60s and early 70s as the only white boy growing up in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn. He befriends Mingus, son of a once great but now drug addled soul singer. The relationship of these two motherless boys, both named after their parents’ musical heroes, and their inevitable split when Dylan goes to Stuyvesant, is the axis around which the novel turns. There’s so much in this book. Entertaining and insightful treatment of race, teenage social angst, crime, graffiti, hip-hop, drug culture, prison culture, neighborhood gentrification, art and commercialism (Dylan’s father is a talented painter who forgoes sacrifices commercial success for an obscure personal artistic obsession). Tons of musical references, many of which were lost on me. But l got lots of other cultural references because Dylan is almost exactly my age. ( )
  davidel | May 10, 2018 |
Non so perché ma, semplicemente, non vado avanti. Giace sul comodino da troppi mesi, ormai: è addirittura coperto da un leggero strato di polvere. Credo non sia il momento adatto per questo libro, molto semplicemente.
  Eva_Filoramo | May 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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For Mara Faye
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Like a match struck in a darkened room: Two white girls in flannel nightgowns and red vinyl roller skates with white laces, tracing tentative circles on a cracked blue slate sidewalk at seven o'clock on an evening in July.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375724885, Paperback)

The Fortress of Solitude is the story of Dylan Ebdus growing up white and motherless in downtown Brooklyn in the 1970s. It’s a neighborhood where the entertainments include muggings along with games of stoopball. In that world, Dylan has one friend, a black teenager, also motherless, named Mingus Rude. As Lethem follows the knitting and unraveling of their friendship, he creates an overwhelmingly rich and emotionally gripping canvas of race and class, superheros, gentrification, funk, hip-hop, graffiti tagging, loyalty, and memory. The Fortress of Solitude is the first great urban coming of age novel to appear in years.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:22 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In 1970s Brooklyn, two boys, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude, share a complex friendship that crosses the racial divide. Growing up in a black Brooklyn neighborhood, they experiment with the acts of defiance typical of their race and era: the easy white rebellion of punk on the one hand and the monstrous plague of crack on the other, the loneliness of avant-garde art and the exuberance of graffiti. As the '70s fade to the '90s, their neighborhood becomes gentrified, political acts give way to apathy, and the stakes of their lives grow higher. Lethem takes his heroes from their obsession with comic books, joyful afternoons of stickball, and dreaded years of schoolyard extortion to college and prison, Berkeley and a transformed Brooklyn, rap and soul, murder and redemption.

» see all 9 descriptions

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