The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.


BONUS MATERIAL: This edition includes an excerpt from Jonathan Lethem's Dissident Gardens.
 

About Jonathan Lethem

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JONATHAN LETHEM is the author of six novels, including Motherless Brooklyn,The Fortress of Solitude, and Gun, with Occasional Music. He lives in Brooklyn.
 
Published September 7, 2004 by Vintage. 530 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Fortress of Solitude

The New York Times

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In Jonathan Lethem's new novel, two boys, one white, one black, change as Brooklyn changes, from the rock-bottom 1970's through the gentrified 90's.

Sep 21 2003 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

The Guardian

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The Fortress of Solitude Jonathan Lethem Faber £7.99, pp511 Jonathan Lethem made his name with updated takes on genre fiction - sci-fi in Amnesia Moon, hard-boiled crime in Motherless Brooklyn - but The Fortress of Solitude was hailed on publication as his first fully-developed literary novel.

Jan 02 2005 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

The Guardian

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The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem 511pp, Faber, £12.99 Back in August, the New Yorker published "View From a Headlock", a distillation of the early chapters of Jonathan Lethem's imminent The Fortress of Solitude.

Dec 20 2003 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

The Guardian

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The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem Faber £12.99, pp470 Near the end of The Fortress of Solitude, the focus begins to shift from Dylan Ebdus, motherless son of an avant-garde artist, to Mingus Rude, motherless son of a famous soul singer, who was his best friend when they were children in...

Jan 11 2004 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

Publishers Weekly

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If there still remains any doubt, this novel confirms Lethem's status as the poet of Brooklyn and of motherless boys.

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Book Reporter

Dylan is encouraged to go to a magnet high school (even as his father seems oblivious to it all), but Mingus slides by and falls into drugs and oblivion, in no small part thanks to his father's drug habits.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

AV Club

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In "Underberg," the 300-page opening section of Jonathan Lethem's sprawling opus The Fortress Of Solitude, every passage begins like the first page of a novel, working furiously to set a scene.

Oct 14 2003 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

PopMatters

Every summary, no matter how brief, will mention “Brooklyn youths gets superpowers.” No one should let a lack of interest in comic books or superpowers deter them from reading The Fortress of Solitude.

Sep 11 2003 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

London Review of Books

It is obviously autobiographical: Lethem was raised in the same part of Brooklyn as Dylan, and his mother died when he was roughly the same age as Dylan is when his disappears.

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New York Magazine

It is she who pushes Dylan into the mean streets—they’re one of the very few white families in Gowanus at the time—hoping to remake both the streets and Dylan.

Nov 01 2013 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

ReadySteadyBook

After a series of short and playful novels touching on genres as diverse as detective noir and science fiction, Jonathan Lethem makes a bid for the big time with this self-consciously Big American Novel examining the friendship of two boys - one white and the other black - growing up in 1970s Bro...

Mar 02 2004 | Read Full Review of The Fortress of Solitude: A N...

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