The Fortress of Solitude is, by my lights, the first great fiction to come out of America in about ten years, since the halcyon days of Beloved and Jesus' Son and Infinite Jest. Of course there have been plenty of very good books in the interim, but Lethem has written one of those masterpieces that just vaults over everything else. It's Underworld without DeLillo's insufferable amateur sociology; it's Kavalier & Clay, but where Chabon can get so caught up in his fanciful yarns that he seems to leave the world behind, Lethem keeps both feet on the groundeven when his characters are airborne. This book has the dirt of the real world on it; it sticks. I can't say enough good things about it. The man has come through for us all.