Broken utopias
Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue (2012) and Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude (2003)
in The politics of male friendship in contemporary American fiction
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This chapter begins by continuing with a close reading of Auster’s Smoke, exploring the film’s portrayal of local community and interracial male friendship. It then turns to two sprawling neighbourhood novels, Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue (2012) and Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude (2003). With a theoretical framework informed by queer theory, continental philosophy, and Marxist historicism, the chapter analyses how Chabon’s and Lethem’s narratives of interracial male friendship are freighted with the legacies of 1960s and 1970s political radicalism, and argues that both novels explore the availability of utopian thinking in a ‘post-utopian’ and ‘postracial’ contemporary moment.

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