Yup, I Read Now

Camden College?

iread (super new)Dylan Edbus, the protagonist of The Fortress of Solitude, attended Camden College. When this bit of info drops, I just assumed that the school was real because I had no reason not to. Yet, as I continued reading, I began to think that it was Lethem’s invention (I couldn’t tell you what it was in the text that made me question the school’s existence). When I reach the paragraph where Dylan mentions that he and his roommate go to the End of the World, all those brain synapses and sparks and protons and electrons start doing their thing. Camden College is the same fictional school where Bret Easton Ellis’ The Rules of Attraction is set.

I haven’t read any of Ellis’ more recent work but in Less Than Zero and The Rules of Attraction he really takes the minimalist approach to description. Everyone is tan or not tan or not as tan as they used to be. There’s so much repetition in these books—which I imagine is supposed to emulate the inarticulate voice of 1980s youth—that they’re hypnotic, if that makes any sense. They’re kind of Gertrude Stein-esque and you’re looking for variation in the string of repeated words, hoping to figure out the deeper significance. I read The Rules of Attraction four years ago but the End of the World is something that I am able to recall simply because it was mentioned about 50,000 times by various characters.

The End of the World is a bar near Camden College.

According to my sources (Wikipedia) Lethem’s Camden and Ellis’ Camden are in different cities but I think that the End of the World indicates that they are the same school.
Case closed. I am a super sleuth. I am a legend.
Camden College is sort of the literary equivalent of Shermer High—the fictional school in all of the those John Hughes movies. Although it’s fun to imagine Ferris Bueller palling around with the gang from The Breakfast Club—maybe trying to get John Bender out of all those extra detentions he racked up—the one thing that always bothered me about that high school was that there would have been three girls walking around who looked exactly like Molly Ringwald.

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