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A. CULLIFORD ""France Instructions"" (Paris, France)
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The Fortress of Solitude
The Fortress of Solitude
by Jonathan Lethem
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly brilliant, 26 Aug. 2005
This is a love it or hate it book. From the minute I dipped into it in a bookshop I was hooked and had to have it, then and there (sorry Amazon).
You don't have to know anything about 70s soul or Brooklyn street culture to love this book. Brooklyn and its jive-talk, and comic-strip heroes, are merely the framework for universal themes of how we use private myths to deal with reality and to fight our way out of our own ghettos. But it's a rich and compelling cultural background nevertheless. Forget about the "great American novel" (what is this obsession? did Dostoevsky set out to write the "great Russian novel" or did he just need to write?) - Lethem can just as well be compared to Joyce in the musicality of his language, and to Spenser in his use of dualities. Jung readers will find plenty of interest in here too.
Who before has dared to make the white kid the victim, not ultimately of black racism but of society's compulsion to outcast difference?
Mammoth though it is, I found this book's structure revealed itself and its dénouement successfully ties in all its strands and myths. You have to like metaphor and signs as a way of reading the world - here they show their primeval force in a dog-eat-dog urban morass. If you liked The Corrections chances are you'll hate this. But to some it will speak out loud and clear.


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