I don’t want your revolution
- Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem
Cape, 366 pp, £18.99, January 2014, ISBN 978 0 224 09395 8
The early 21st century brought a new type of American novel. Its best-known practitioners – all men of the same generation, born in the mid to late 1960s – are Michael Chabon, Junot Díaz and Jonathan Lethem. The books they wrote were interested in popular culture or counterculture as much as in the thoughts and passions of characters. Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000) chronicled the rise of superhero comics in postwar America. Díaz’s The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007) described its hero’s introduction to science fiction, hinting that sci-fi might offer a solution to the perennial immigrant dilemma of how to become a normal American without losing your identity. Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude (2003) told the story of an inter-racial friendship between two Brooklyn boys through the rise of graffiti, punk rock, funk, hip-hop and comic books.
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