Ask a Book Question: The Twelfth in a Series (Book with Occasional Music)

January 14, 2004 | 1 book mentioned 2 min read

Jeff wrote in with this question about The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem:

I guess this is a book question. Certainly it’s a question related to a book. In this week’s Village Voice, there is an article about a promotional 2CD-set meant to be a companion to Jonathan Lethem’s “Fortress of Solitude.” It sounds quite interesting. Does anybody know how it can be obtained? Here’s the URL to the article: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0401/christgau2.php

I found this question especially intriguing because there were many times while I was reading Fortress of Solitude that I wished the book had come with a cd. Music of many genres permeates the book, some of the songs and artists I was familiar with, others I had never heard of, and as I was reading I found myself creating a soundtrack to the book in my head, inventing my own songs if I didn’t recognize an artist or song. It was an interesting reading experience. But, now, apparently there is a cd out there, and as Robert Christgau, the Village Voice music reviewer, makes clear in his review, you’re not going to get your hands on it. This seemed to be confirmed by my research as none of my contacts at Random House / Doubleday had even heard of the cd. Apparently the 2 cd set has been handed out here and there to friends and fans at book signings, and due, of course, to copywrite issues, this fantastic compilation will never truly be released. But, as is often the case these days, now you can make your very own at home. Lucky for us, David, who runs a Jonathan Lethem site has posted the track listing, so with a little bit of elbow grease and a modest disregard for copywrite law you can have your very own Fortress of Solitude compilation.

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

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