Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I finished The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem last night. I took my time with this one - partly because the language demanded attention, and partly because I loved the feeling of location and childhood the long first section created. I was surprised at how starkly the race relations stuff was presented. It seemed, in its very absence of anger or indignation, to be accepting of the view that true integration is an unlikely dream. I'm not sure how I feel about that... I'd like to believe it's possible, but I don't see it happening all that much. We, as a society, are still so aware of racial differences. I didn't have a problem with the Aeroman and the more SF elements in the book. I thought it added a cool bit of excitement and collusion between Dylan and Mingus. Of course, I loved the music bits and the scene where Dylan plays an album for his father, wanting him to really hear the same song - to feel how the song makes him feel. I know that feeling; the wanting to share something that has touched you so profoundly, only to find that it doesn't have the same effect on someone else. That's such a lonely feeling. I think that scene is played out in other versions throughout the book, thus evoking the solitude of the title. Anyway. I really liked this book and will be reading Letham's other books.

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