Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Brooklyn Follies

Title: The Brooklyn Follies

Author: Paul Auster

Number of pages: 304

Started: 24 March 2010

Finished: 31 March 2010

Opening words:

`I was looking for a quiet place to die. Someone recommended Brooklyn, and so the next morning, I traveled down there from Westchester to scope out the terrain.'

Listen to an interview with Paul Auster about the book here.

You can find a reading group guide here

Plot summary:

Set against the backdrop of the contested US election of 2000, it tells the story of Nathan and Tom, an uncle and nephew double-act. One in remission from lung cancer, divorced, and estranged from his only daughter, the other hiding away from his once-promising academic career, and, indeed, from life in general. Having accidentally ended up in the same Brooklyn neighbourhood, they discover a community teeming with life and passion. When Lucy, a little girl who refuses to speak, comes into their lives, there is suddenly a bridge from their pasts that offers them the possibility of redemption.

What I thought:

I enjoyed this book. I didn’t think it was one of Auster’s best, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was a tale of intertwined stories and people reflecting on life and the decisions that we make. I really like Auster’s writing style and he writes in a way that you can hear the narrator’s voice – they are books that are suited to being read aloud and shared. It was a book that I would like to read again some day and I am sure that I will find things in it then that entirely passed me by this time.

I did think the very end of the book was perhaps a bit contrived (that being the reference to 11 September), but it was a thought provoking book and one that had moments that were just so well written that they had to be savoured or at least pondered. A good read.

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