I'm not going to beat around the bush here. Jonathan Lethem's last book Motherless Brooklyn sucks. I would like to know from people who loved that book what it is they liked about it. Complete crap.
So I was skeptical about his next book Fortress of Solitude but Balgavy recommended it and I loved the cover so I gave it a shot. And I immediately loved it. I loved it so much that I was highly recommending it to people, comparing it favorably to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and proclaiming that I was enjoying it more than any other fiction book in recent memory.
I loved the Brooklyn that it evoked of the 70's. I loved that I knew the neighborhod that Lethem described. I loved how autobiographical it felt. I loved the characters and felt that Dylan Edbus and Mingus Rude were destined to be highly regarded literary creations to be referenced for years. I loved the comic book aspect of the magic ring. Was Mingus actually getting magic powers from the ring? Was he really aided by the ring in his crime fighting? I loved the shifting currents of their friendship, the tagging, the dynamics with their respective dads, their drifting apart as they got older, and the way that the music of the day influenced them to such a large degree. A wonderful first 300 pages.
But the last 200 pages reminded me why I shouldn't recommend a book to anyone until I've actually finished it. The second part of this book blows. For some reason, Lethem decided to shift the storytelling from the third person to the first person. Who does he think he is? Faulkner? Dylan has turned out to be an annoying music industry guy who namechecks the hippest bands he can think of. Mingus is in jail. And the ring? The ring turns out to be truly magical. Or does it? Who gives a fuck? The last 200 pages are so grating. If you read this book, I'd say stop after the first part.
Hide and Seek
2 days ago