The Fortress of Solitude

 Posted by on March 18, 2013  Modern Fiction
Mar 182013
The Fortress of SolitudeThe Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
Published by Doubleday, 2003
Genres: Modern Fiction
Pages: 511
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Synopsis: This is the story of Dylan Ebdus, a young boy growing up in the slums of New York and struggling to survive each day.  We follow Dylan as he matures and faces the fact that he is the only white kid in his school, as he gets to know the diverse collection of people in his neighborhood, and as he learns life's lessons - sometimes the hard way.

I originally read this book as a book club pick during high school.  Getting started was almost painfully slow.  Jonathan Lethem’s writing style seemed to be defined by an odd compilation of sentences that never quite came together in the end.  In places, the narration seemed like a completely unedited stream of consciousness that had been put to paper in a creative “frenzy” late one night.

Once I was a decent way into Part I of the book, however, reading was more bearable, even if I was still irritated by stylistic choices.  I struggled to finish the book, especially as the content became more obscure and jarring after Part I.  In hindsight, I realize that the premise was truly heartfelt, and it was probably a worthwhile read.

The message was good, but the journey was downright painful.

This review was originally published at on April 11, 2009.