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Monday, November 29, 2010

Paul Auster's "Sunset Park" -- The First 70-something pages...

The First 70-something Pages:
I am a fan, I am not going to lie; nevertheless, to categorize "Sunset Park" as anything but the almost perfect novel would be a disservice.  How can this man continue to produce books as good as this one is right up there with the mysteries of the Great Pyramids.  I know it all sounds hyperbolic, but I contend that with a long list of excellent novels Paul Auster should be considered a national treasure (again, hyperbolic).

"Sunset Park" is a return to the fiction that made him one of the great literary fiction authors, away from meta fictions and mind-bending abstractions.  This return--after much criticism of meta fiction efforts in "Travels in the Scriptorium" and "Man in the Dark"--can be seen to match the Auster efforts in both "The Brooklyn Follies" and "Oracle Night."  This is fiction that is painfully clear, allowing the reader to focus on nuances of language and style without losing the plot in the process.  The third person narrative adds to the detachment Auster is trying to achieve after his most recent works but does not in any way take away from the personal observations of one Miles Heller (first part of the book).  At the risk of sounding a little prude, my only negative observation is that of Miles Heller's relationship with a much younger woman and their "different" sexual activity brought upon by the young woman's fear of getting pregnant.  Aside from this, the first part of the book (first 70-something pages) are both engaging and naturally drawing to the reader.  I have been "milking" the first part of this novel because I don't want to burn off and sky-rocket through it in a day (a task I am able to).  I am savoring more as the pages break, as if in an endless wave-watching meditation.  More to come in the next few days and then on to Christopher Isherwood's Diaries Volume 2 which will be my final book for 2010.

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