27 abr. 2005

It would be like complaining that Paul Auster's novels are too deep and intellectual, when the problem is that he makes his "profundity" much too explicit and practically EXPLAINS to the reader how to interpret his "themes."

Much as I love The New York Trilogy many of his other books are tainted with that "Great American Novel" idea, you know, when the novelist is trying to say something profound about "America." The guy who blows up replicas of the Statue of Liberty in Leviathan, for example. Mr. Vertigo about a boy who can fly is not Auster's finest hour. Nor is Timbuktu, narrated from the point of view of a dog. The Book of Illusions has a nice conceit--a film director of the silent era who disappears into the desert and makes movies that will never be shown to anyone. Oracle Night is nicely plotted and avoids some of the horrible clichés of the other books. There is no Auster novel that doesn't make me cringe in parts, when it becomes simply too OBVIOUS. Yet that is also what makes him somewhat popular.

7 comentarios:

Jordan dijo...

The Invention of Solitude,
The New York Trilogy,
Moon Palace...

...and the translations in the Random House Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry are a study in the Blanchotification of Franco-American relations.

Mark dijo...

When speaking of Auster, people rarely refer to his first novel, "In the Country of Last Things," which I think is a fine book.

I'd say its invented landscape is a more compelling place for the sort of artificial gestures that Auster makes, as opposed to the "real world" of some of his other novels. Though obviously his works are more often than not phantastic.

Jonathan dijo...

Jonathan said:

Nick Piombino likes that book (INCOLT). I haven't read more than a few pages of it.

Nor have I read Moon Palace. I've read most of his novels, though.

Daniel Quinn = Don Quixote. Get it? It's those kind of details you can either enjoy or get annoyed at.

gina dijo...

I first read The New York Trilogy as an undergrad, and it was really the first "postmodern" fiction I was exposed to. I then took a class that was on the works of Auster, and I enjoyed ITCOLT, The Book of Solitude, the Trilogy, and The Art of Hunger, (a collection of his essays and interviews). But after that I became tired of the typical Auster tricks, most likely the parts that make you cringe. I wasn't able to read Auster for awhile, and finally this summer went back and read Leviathan. When someone asked me how it was, I said it was Paul Auster being Paul Auster. No surprises.

Nick Piombino dijo...

Auster's first book was *The Invention of Solitude (1982). ITCLT was published in 1987. I admire the way Auster's taken whatever energy and inspiration he derived from his struggles as a young poet and translated that into worthwhile fiction- in order to survive! His career is a high-wire act that has long been fascinating to follow. His early books are mostly about survival. LIke any hugely successful writer, his latest challenge is to continue to write in the face of the intense critical focus & understandable self-consciousness arising from that success. True, the last couple of books reveal some apparent flagging of writerly energy in the face of the strenuousness of these recent challenges; maybe getting involved with Hollywood boosted his ego without necessarily contributing to his writerly inspiration. Still, he's the only American poet since James Dickey to write a book that anyone would consider making into a major movie. He himself is a fascinating character- I wish he would take the risk to be as interestingly autobiographical and empathic as he was when he was a young starving writer.

Peggy dijo...

Very interesting observations.

Peggy dijo...

Very interesting observations.