Recuperating from a car accident, insomniac septuagenarian August Brill endeavors to set aside recent tragedies by imagining himself in a parallel world in which the September 11 attacks did not occur and the 2000 U.S. election resulted in a violent secession and civil war. Reprint.
Despite the metafictional layers and literary gamesmanship, Paul Auster's MAN IN THE DARK reads with the tightly plotted intensity of a much more traditional narrative. An anonymous narrator tells us his imaginary tale: it's a parallel reality America, and the country is divided by a bloody civil war, a war brought about as a result of the dreams of a bitter crippled academic mourning the loss both of his wife and of his daughter's boyfriend who died in Iraq. To end his dream, and thus the war, a soldier is sent to assassinate him. Auster's previous novel, TRAVELS IN THE SCRIPTORIUM, threatened to circle in on itself until it nearly vanished beneath its postmodern self-reflection. MAN IN THE DARK, while certainly concerned with issues of narrative and authorship, simultaneously grapples with larger issues of war and grief, and is populated by flesh-and-blood characters. Auster gives both narrative and reality their due; indeed, the central conflict of the novel lies between the self-absorbed academic who lives entirely in his mind, and his daughter's boyfriend, who was desperate to find truths outside his own existence. By embracing the power of both the empirical and the fabricated, and showing their tenuous symbiosis, Auster has written his best postmodern work in some time.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
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- April 27, 2009
- April 27, 2009
- Paul Auster