Jonathan Lethem Responds to James Wood Review

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By Jason Boog Comment

In a new Los Angeles Review of Books essay, Jonathan Lethem expressed his disappointment in a review by book critic James Wood.

Wood dissected The Fortress of Solitude in a 2003 New Republic review, prompting Lethem (pictured, via) to write him a private letter. He received a short note back, and eight years later, responded to the letter with a public essay about the review. What do you think?

Check it out: “Wood, in 4,200 painstaking words, couldn’t bring himself to mention that my characters found a magic ring that allowed them flight and invisibility. This, the sole distinguishing feature that put the book aside from those you’d otherwise compare it to (Henry Roth, say). The brute component of audacity, whether you felt it sank the book or exalted it or only made it odd. These fantastic events hinge the plot at several points, including the finale — you simply couldn’t not mention this and have read the book at all. Or rather, you couldn’t unless you were Wood.”

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