This is the best post pretty much ever. I’m posting what follows below for my friend, Frank. Way back in October or early November 2004, Frank had a freak health emergency. He was rushed to the hospital and patched up. However, he had infections, fevers, major organ failures, and other life-threatening complications.
According to his doctors at the time, Frank was supposed to die around the First of 2005, but he didn’t get the memo. Somehow, he fought back. It’s been a long slow road with some rather unbelievable obstacles along the way. He was bedridden for so long that he has been working on relearning to walk and get around with atrophied muscles, but he’s been reading like a fiend. He sent me an e-mail earlier tonight with his thoughts on Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude. Nothing makes me happier than being able to post here on his behalf. If he hadn’t been in a drug induced coma at the time, Frank would have been the first person that I strong-armed into our
nerdy merry group. It’s a rainbows and unicorns kind of day here at BGB.
With the introductions properly made, here’s Frank:
I just finished “Fortress of Solitude” last night.
Jonathan Lethem is an extremely gifted writer with a great grasp of the
cultural milieu in which he evidently grew up.
I wasn’t sure where he was going to go with Dylan and Mingus after about
350 pages, but then Barrett Senior got shot and the section entitled
“Liner Notes” started, and it just knocked me on my ass. Wow!
I’m not sure why anyone that isn’t a white guy, between 20 and 40 would
get this book. It is replete with references from everything from early
soul to Fantastic Four, from Monty Python to the Gormenghast trilogy.
Barrett Rude Junior may be the best drawn character in a book since Tom
The only thing that confused me was Aaron X. Doily’s ring, and whether
its power was imaginary, its effects simply perceived by the children or
real. It is only in the third act are we shown that the powers of the ring are
indeed true and that they only respond to Dylan’s command. The fact that
this isn’t clear earlier in the book, is the book’s main failing, or
perhaps its genius.
Even if you don’t get all the references (Lord knows I didn’t,
especially all the music,) the book is definitely worth the 500-page
ride, no matter what your background. The story is strong, the
characters are ultra-real and many of the scenes are quite tender.
Take off your Clark Kent glasses, use your x-ray vision and “boost”
yourself a copy of “Fortress of Solitude” today.
Way back in the early days of the BGB Empire, we had a lengthy back and forth on this book, with everyone having a slightly different take on it. Refresh your memory here and here.
OK, I have to post this now so I can comment on Frank’s post. Bye.