‘The Fortress of Solitude’ by Jonathan Lethem

The Fortress of Solitude is certainly a very good book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Lethem’s novel Motherless Brooklyn. To be sure, there are superheroes in FoS, or at least superpowers (at least, one superpower …), but there wasn’t much adventure. Rather, there were typical topics of highbrow literature: family relations, friendship, race — doubtless many more, which I forgot (it’s been quite a while since I read the book) or didn’t get in the first place. In MB, on the other hand, there’s some kind of crime story, some adventure, and the story reaches some kind of satisfying resolution. (I don’t remember what exactly the story was, never mind the resolution [one never remembers the resolutions of crime stories], because this reading lies even farther back.)

If you enjoy good highbrow literature, albeit tainted by popular culture (superhero comics, graffiti, soul music …), then FoS may well be a book for you. (‘Oooh, yes, I’d really enjoy a week of splendid ennui!’ — Nah, it’s not that bad …) If, like me, you prefer literature with a higher entertainment value, though it be of literary worth [is that correct English?? Or should I write, ‘be it though …’??], then better read MB.


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