(IBList user synopsis):
Dylan Ebdus is a white boy growing up in Boerum Hill, a mostly black and Hispanic neighborhood in Brooklyn in the 1970's experiencing the early growing pains of gentrification. As a young boy, he learns to negotiate the social dynamics of the block, playing skully and later stickball. After his bohemian mother disappears, he is raised by his artist father, who becomes increasingly isolated. When Mingus Rude, a black boy whose father was the lead singer of the R&B vocal group, The Four Distinctions, moves onto the block, he and Dylan become fast friends, poring over comics and tagging graffiti together. At junior high school and on the block, Dylan endures reverse racial harassment: boys taking his money and “yoking” him, Robert Woolfolk, a kid from the neighborhood, stealing his bike. One day, a mysterious homeless man rescued by Dylan and his father gives Dylan a ring that endows its bearer with the ability to fly. Dylan and Mingus make bumbling attempts at playing superhero. A conflict between Mingus’ father Barrett and his evangelical preacher grandfather who recently moved in with them explodes into violence and Dylan flees to college in Vermont. Later, Dylan moves to Berkeley and dabbles at crimefighting (the ring now makes its wearer invisible), with catastrophic results. Meanwhile, Mingus becomes a crack addict and serial convict. After Dylan, who is now a music critic, writes liner notes for a Four Distinctions box set, he realizes he needs to confront the ghosts of his past and returns to Brooklyn, a quest that eventually leads him to prison and answers about his mother.
Original title: The Fortress of Solitude
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction