Author Jonathan Lethem gets the work up: A profile AND Michiko review in the Times today. The reason? His new book, Fortress of Solitude, his first since his National Book Critics Circle-winning, Motherless Brooklyn. Ah, the Doubleday publicists are earning their keep.
The profile examines Lethem's Brooklyn roots, in the pre-gentrified days of Smith Street, when blacks and Puerto Ricans were the dominants groups and whites were a small minority - made up of socially-minded (read: hippie) types, and how that is the foundation for Fortress; reporter Diane Cardwell also calls him a hipster celebrity. Michiko Kakutani calls Fortress, "dazzling but fundamentally flawed...with many defects, but a novel that nonetheless attests to [Lethem's] potent storytelling talents." Gothamist will take a very strong mixed review as a good sign, especially since we think Michiko's reviews are a bit wacky anyway. Salon's Peter Kurth thinks that Fortress places Lethem in the "first rank" of American authors.