The acclaimed author of Motherless Brooklyn and The Fortress of Solitude returns with a roar with this gorgeous, searing portrayal of Manhattanites wrapped in their own delusions, desires, and lies.
Chase Insteadman, a handsome, inoffensive fixture on Manhattan's social scene, lives off residuals earned as a child star on a beloved sitcom called Martyr & Pesty. Chase owes his current social cachet to an ongoing tragedy much covered in the tabloids: His teenage sweetheart and fiancée, Janice Trumbull, is trapped by a layer of low-orbit mines on the International Space Station, from which she sends him rapturous and heartbreaking love letters. Like Janice, Chase is adrift, she in Earth's stratosphere, he in a vague routine punctuated by Upper East Side dinner parties.
Into Chase's cloistered city enters Perkus Tooth, a wall-eyed free-range pop critic whose soaring conspiratorial riffs are fueled by high-grade marijuana, mammoth cheeseburgers, and a desperate ache for meaning. Perkus's countercultural savvy and voracious paranoia draw Chase into another Manhattan, where questions of what is real, what is fake, and who is complicit take on a life-shattering urgency. Along with Oona Laszlo, a self-loathing ghostwriter, and Richard Abneg, a hero of the Tompkins Square Park riot now working as a fixer for the billionaire mayor, Chase and Perkus attempt to unearth the answers to several mysteries that seem to offer that rarest of artifacts on an island where everything can be bought: Truth.
Like Manhattan itself, Jonathan Lethem's masterpiece is beautiful and tawdry, tragic and forgiving, devastating and antic, a stand-in for the whole world and a place utterly unique.
«La fortaleza de la soledad ejemplifica, sin necesidad de grandes aspavientos vanguardistas, nuestro paradójico signo de los tiempos», Qué Leer
Esta es la historia de un chico negro y uno blanco: Dylan Ebdus y Mingus Rude, vecinos que comparten sus días y defienden su amistad a capa y espada desde un rincón de Nueva York. Esta es la historia de su infancia en Brooklyn, un barrio habitado mayoritariamente por negros y en el que comienza a emerger una nueva clase blanca. Esta es la historia de la América de los años setenta, cuando las decisiones más intrascendentes -qué música escuchar, qué zona ocupar en el autobús escolar, en qué bar desayunar- desataban conflictos raciales y políticos. Esta es la historia de lo que habría pasado si dos adolescentes obsesionados con superhéroes de cómic hubieran desarrollado poderes similares a los de los personajes de ficción. Esta es la historia que Jonathan Lethem nació para contar. Esta es La fortaleza de la soledad.
Jonathan Lethem (Nueva York, 1964) es una de las voces más inventivas de la ficción contemporánea. Es autor de nueve novelas y depositario de distinguidos galardones, como el Premio Nacional de la Crítica de Estados Unidos.
Lionel Essrog, a.k.a. the Human Freakshow, is a victim of Tourette's syndrome (an uncontrollable urge to shout out nonsense, touch every surface in reach and stroke people. Local tough guy hires Lionel and other boys and grooms them to become the Minna Men, a detective-agency-cum-limo service.
“Under the guise of a detective novel, Lethem has written a more piercing tale of investigation, one revealing how the mind drives on its own ‘wheels within wheels.’ ”
– The New York Times Book Review
“Who but Jonathan Lethem would attempt a half-satirical cross between a literary novel and a hard-boiled crime story narrated by an amateur detective with Tourette’s syndrome?… The dialogue crackles with caustic hilarity… Jonathan Lethem is a verbal performance artist.”
– The Boston Globe
“Part detective novel and part literary fantasia, [Motherless Brooklyn] superbly balances beautiful writing and an engrossing plot.”
– The Wall Street Journal
“Intricately and satisfyingly plotted… Funny and dizzying and heart-breaking.”
– Luc Sante, Village Voice Literary Supplement
“A tour de force… With one unique and well-imagined character, Jonathan Lethem has turned a genre on its ear. He doesn’t just push the envelope, he gives it a swift kick.”
– The Denver Post
“Aside from being one of the most inventive writers on the planet, Lethem is also one of the funniest.”
– San Francisco examiner Chronicle
“In Essrog… Jonathan Lethem has fashioned a lovably strange man-child and filled his cross-wired mind with a brilliant, crashing, self-referential interior monologue that is at once laugh-out-loud funny, tender and in the honest service of a terrific story.”
– The Washington Post Book World
“A true risk-taker… Lethem uses a familiar genre as the backdrop for his own artistic flourishes.”
– The Hartford Courant
“Wildly inventive… Jonathan Lethem has a knack for pushing commonplace ideas to absurdly literal ends.”
– City Pages
“Marvelous… Motherless Brooklyn is, among other things, a tale of orphans, a satire of Zen in the city and a murder mystery.”
– Time Out New York
“Finding out whodunit is interesting enough, but it’s more fun watching Lethem unravel the mysteries of his Tourettic creation.”
“Wonderfully inventive, slightly absurdist… [Motherless Brooklyn] is funny and sly, clever, compelling and endearing.”
– USA Today
“Utterly original and deeply moving.”
“Motherless Brooklyn is a whodunit that’s serious fiction… Lethem is a sort of Stanley Kubrick figure… stopping off in flat genres to do multidimensional work, blasting their hoary conventions to bits.”
“A pure delight.”
– The New York Observer
“A detective story, a shrewd portrait of Brooklyn, a retold Oliver Twist and a story so baroquely voiced (the hero has Tourette’s syndrome) that Philip Marlowe would blush. And tip his fedora.”
– Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Funny, delightfully complicated and so outrageously inventive that no pitch could do it justice.”
– Baltimore Sun
“A multi-layered novel that’s fast-paced, witty and touching… Prose diatpunches its way down the page, every word loaded with energy and ready to explode.”
– The Oregonian
“Compulsively readable… Genuinely entertaining… Improbably hilarious… Lethem is at his peak Nabokov-meets-Woody-Allen verbal frenzy.”
“Most rewarding… Delightfully oddball.”
– The New Yorker
“Motherless Brooklyn is Lethem’s finest work yet-exciting, strange, original, hilarious, human and soulful.”
– The Memphis Commercial Appeal
“A staggering piece of writing… On the edge of genius… The accents, class distinctions, highways, neighborhoods, grocery stores, flavors, scents and, yes, car services in a certain corner of [Brooklyn] are made vividly tangible, arising from these pages as if scratch-and-sniffs were embedded in the margins.”
– San Jose Mercury News
“Imagine the opportunities to explore language that arise when the narrator of a novel has Tourette’s syndrome… Unforgettable.”
– Los Angeles Times
If there still remains any doubt, this novel confirms Lethem's status as the poet of Brooklyn and of motherless boys. Projected through the prism of race relations, black music and pop art, Lethem's stunning, disturbing and authoritatively observed narrative covers three decades of turbulent events on Dean Street, Brooklyn. When Abraham and Rachel Ebdus arrive there in the early 1970s, they are among the first whites to venture into a mainly black neighborhood that is just beginning to be called Boerum Hill. Abraham is a painter who abandons his craft to construct tiny, virtually indistinguishable movie frames in which nothing happens. Ex-hippie Rachel, a misguided liberal who will soon abandon her family, insists on sending their son, Dylan, to public school, where he stands out like a white flag. Desperately lonely, regularly attacked and abused by the black kids ("yoked," in the parlance), Dylan is saved by his unlikely friendship with his neighbor Mingus Rude, the son of a once-famous black singer, Barnett Rude Jr., who is now into cocaine and rage at the world. The story of Dylan and Mingus, both motherless boys, is one of loyalty and betrayal, and eventually different paths in life. Dylan will become a music journalist, and Mingus, for all his intelligence, kindness, verbal virtuosity and courage, will wind up behind bars. Meanwhile, the plot manages to encompass pop music from punk rock to rap, avant-garde art, graffiti, drug use, gentrification, the New York prison system-and to sing a vibrant, sometimes heartbreaking ballad of Brooklyn throughout. Lethem seems to have devoured the '70s, '80s and '90s-inhaled them whole-and he reproduces them faithfully on the page, in prose as supple as silk and as bright, explosive and illuminating as fireworks. Scary and funny and seriously surreal, the novel hurtles on a trajectory that feels inevitable. By the time Dylan begins to break out of the fortress of solitude that has been his life, readers have shared his pain and understood his dreams.