Unfocused or Beguiling?,
This review is from: Chronic City (Paperback)
I didn't think that The Fortress of Solitude was a masterpiece when I first read it; but when I re-read it I was shocked at how dull I had been not to realize what a wonderful novel it was and is. So I'll be careful about Lethem's new effort. On the one hand I have a weird feeling of lack of focus; and an over-stretched plot. On the other hand, why couldn't I stop reading this even though the plot was meandering and the places and events and characters looked blurred (as blurred as Chase seen by Oona?).
Maybe I've missed something.
Maybe this is meant to be only apparently out of focus.
Maybe there's a subtext I managed to detect and some other readers missed.
Now try this: VALIS in Manhattan. What about it?
If that's true, there's a lot more to this novel than it may seem. Grey fog over South Manhattan: fictional fog or real smoke from 9-11? The tiger wandering in Manhattan: a surrealistic device to keep readers amused or Blake's Tyger unleashed? And what did they edit out of the NYT War Free edition? Why should the Chinese scatter orbital mines around the space station?
Lethem himself tells us that the characters in the plot have troubles seeing what is right before them. But this might also apply to us readers.