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The Fortress of Solitude
de Jonathan Lethem
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I'm a fan, plain and simple. Lethem is a master storyteller in all ways fathomable. As a former jazz player I sensed a 'rhythm' with his phrasing even if not intended. The story of close friends growing up in a 'hard' neighborhood, the trials and tribulations ans difficulties, ups downs and curve balls. Mingus, Dylan's best friend in spite of his gangster ways has the staying power best friends have. Shielding D from problems, advising him with others, their bond is unbreakable. Lethem's descriptive use of words, colloquialism and depth of character is sensational. He keeps the reader engaged even when the surprise fast forward occurs relieving tension by taking us back and then forward again. An outstanding read for those that appreciate talent, humanity, compassion and sorrow built around the lasting sort of friendships that make life worth living. Highly recommended and in ways, Pulitzer worthy. ( )
La familia de Dylan Ebdus se ha trasladado a uno de los barrios que en los 70 resulta menos apetecibles en Brooklyn. La mayoría de sus vecinos son negros. Mientras crece y desarrolla su interés por los cómics y la música, también entabla amistad con algunos de los chicos de su edad en el vecindario. En especial con Mingus Rude. Juntos comparten sus días y defienden su amistad a capa y espada desde un rincón de Nueva York.
This story focuses on two friends, one white and black, growing up in Brooklyn. It begins in the 60s and spans the next several decades. It is somewhat based on Lethem's own childhood. It is a sprawling, over-stuffed novel, overshadowing some fine writing and characterizations. I am glad I read it but it wasn't as strong as I had hoped.
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.
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.
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)
This is the story of two boys, Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude. They are friends and neighbors, but because Dylan is white and Mingus is black, their friendship is not simple. This is the story of their Brooklyn neighborhood, which is almost exclusively black despite the first whispers of something that will become known as "gentrification." This is the story of 1970s America, a time when the most simple human decisions—what music you listen to, whether to speak to the kid in the seat next to you, whether to give up your lunch money—are laden with potential political, social and racial disaster. This is the story of 1990s America, when no one cared anymore. This is the story of punk, that easy white rebellion, and crack, that monstrous plague. This is the story of the loneliness of the avant-garde artist and the exuberance of the graffiti artist. This is the story of what would happen if two teenaged boys obsessed with comic book heroes actually had superpowers: They would screw up their lives. This is the story of joyous afternoons of stickball and dreaded years of schoolyard extortion. This is the story of belonging to a society that doesn't accept you. This is the story of prison and of college, of Brooklyn and Berkeley, of soul and rap, of murder and redemption. This is the story Jonathan Lethem was born to tell. This is THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE.
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