Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Fortress of Solitude Paperback – August 24, 2004
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
If there still remains any doubt, this novel confirms Lethem's status as the poet of Brooklyn and of motherless boys. Projected through the prism of race relations, black music and pop art, Lethem's stunning, disturbing and authoritatively observed narrative covers three decades of turbulent events on Dean Street, Brooklyn. When Abraham and Rachel Ebdus arrive there in the early 1970s, they are among the first whites to venture into a mainly black neighborhood that is just beginning to be called Boerum Hill. Abraham is a painter who abandons his craft to construct tiny, virtually indistinguishable movie frames in which nothing happens. Ex-hippie Rachel, a misguided liberal who will soon abandon her family, insists on sending their son, Dylan, to public school, where he stands out like a white flag. Desperately lonely, regularly attacked and abused by the black kids ("yoked," in the parlance), Dylan is saved by his unlikely friendship with his neighbor Mingus Rude, the son of a once-famous black singer, Barnett Rude Jr., who is now into cocaine and rage at the world. The story of Dylan and Mingus, both motherless boys, is one of loyalty and betrayal, and eventually different paths in life. Dylan will become a music journalist, and Mingus, for all his intelligence, kindness, verbal virtuosity and courage, will wind up behind bars. Meanwhile, the plot manages to encompass pop music from punk rock to rap, avant-garde art, graffiti, drug use, gentrification, the New York prison system-and to sing a vibrant, sometimes heartbreaking ballad of Brooklyn throughout. Lethem seems to have devoured the '70s, '80s and '90s-inhaled them whole-and he reproduces them faithfully on the page, in prose as supple as silk and as bright, explosive and illuminating as fireworks. Scary and funny and seriously surreal, the novel hurtles on a trajectory that feels inevitable. By the time Dylan begins to break out of the fortress of solitude that has been his life, readers have shared his pain and understood his dreams.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dylan Ebdus is a white kid on a black-and-brown street. As he struggles through public school in 1970s Brooklyn, he is "yoked"--put in a headlock--and frisked for change on a daily basis. Testing into a good Manhattan school, he steps into a long-lasting role: vulnerable among street kids, he's street-smart compared to his new, privileged pals, and loathes himself as a poseur with both crowds. When he finds a ring that grants the power of flight, he's afraid to use it, but his black friend, Mingus, is not. They try their hand at crime fighting, but like many teenage endeavors, the project fizzles out. Lethem is a tremendous writer, and in the first half he uses magnificent language to capture the complexity of a child's worldview. When he jump-cuts to Dylan's adulthood, however, his switch to a more conventional narrative style is disappointing. The story regains momentum when Dylan rediscovers the ring and a new power it offers, then returns to his old street and ponders a sacrifice: whether to give the ring to the boy who yoked him the most. Lethem explores many avenues: the origins of gentrification, the development of soul music, the genealogy of graffiti, the seeds of the crack epidemic. The different concepts converge in the closing pages, but this often-excellent novel labors under the weight of its ambition. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I was lucky in school; I was never an outcast; I wasn't in the most "in" group but I was a satellite. I knew people like Dylan in elementary, junior high, and senior high school. This book is a beautifully told view of the down and and kids.
The first section of this 3 section book is almost unbearably good. Section 2 is very short and sets the stage for section 3. Section starts strong but turns to fantasy when the Flying Man's ring makes a reappearance. It really seems forced and a complete turnaround from the extreme realism in the first section. I liked the ending, but not the way it was managed. Had I read this first, I not have followed up with Motherless Brooklyn. Good thing I Motherless Brooklyn first.
And, I think Motherless Brooklyn would have been a better title for this book.
Having said all that, I highly recommend this book; but if you don't like how the ending is managed don't give up on Lethem; read Motherless Brooklyn
I think the greatest flaw of this book is not it's pace, but it's finish. It just ends. The "climax" is weak and unsatisfying. I'm left really wishing that something more happened at the end to sort of either (1) lighten the mood of a dark book, or (2) at least give a sense of closure. I spent so much time investing in these characters, and I don't get to see what happens to them in an real, concrete way? Come on!
Oh well. I understand that this book is supposed to be somewhat autobiographical, but really, is life so hard and sad? There's little focus on any of the good that may happen in one's life; but maybe that's the point of a cynical author, hardened by the life of being a successful author and having to do book reading tours in all of America's fanciest bookstores. Life is hard when you don't have enough time to run into the Whole Foods to buy an organic bottle of Pinot Grigio before your adoring fans are awaiting your completely apathetic book signing.
Anyways, yes, the book is incredibly beautiful, and I almost feel guilty writing that and giving the book a four star review. It is worth reading, just keep your expectations low for the end. Take joy in the rich, textured journey, don't dwell on the destination, since it's more or less an Oz-wizard-like hidden man of a finish. But yes, the journey is incredible. Such a vivid portrayal of an incredibly interesting place, 1970's Brooklyn. Reading it I wish I had been able to see it, just for a day or two. But reading "The Fortress of Solitude" almost counts.