Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude

Michael Faber believes Jonathan Lethem’s latest is overhyped:

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. It stoked fervid expectations. In his four previous novels, he had displayed a chameleon-like talent, reinventing pulp genres by combining such disparate influences as Philip K Dick and Raymond Chandler, Don DeLillo and Italo Calvino. Motherless Brooklyn, an award-winning thriller in which Lethem at last allowed himself to channel some of his feelings about his beloved birthplace, prepared the way for the autobiographical magnum opus that would surely put him in the front rank of American literary authors. The Fortress of Solitude was going to be Dickens fused with James Baldwin and Philip Roth. Ever since its American publication, however, the book has dashed as many hopes as it has fulfilled. It is likely to provoke similar ambivalence in the UK.


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