Paul Auster’s Take on the Legacy of G.W. Bush

Paul Auster’s 2008 novel, Man in The Dark, imagines the United States falling into civil war after the election of George W. Bush. So the tragedies of Iraq, kidnappings and beheadings, the World Trade Center, Afghanistan — everything that happened or only got worse for the U.S. and the entire world under the dim-witted guidance of George W. Bush — none of it happens. That’s one hell of a vision. Auster makes it feel real by telling a story of how ordinary people are affected by some of those catastrophic events, which spurs the envisioning of the alternate reality for one of the characters.

Some critics have referred to Man in the Dark as Auster’s Slaughterhouse Five. Having finished the novel about 20 minutes ago, I agree. It’s laced with some black humour that had me laughing out loud more than once, though overall it’s a sad and tragic story about how the world really sucks thanks to people like George W. Bush — with just a dash of hope.

Like all of Auster’s novels (the 10 or so that I’ve read, anyway), Man in the Dark is a good read. For most of its 180 pages, it felt like a minor addition to his work that rambled off into nowhere land. But the last 5 pages puts it all into place, and that’s when I got it. And now I’m tempted to read it again.

Looking for Help on Paul Auster’s “Invisible”

austerinvisibleI finished Paul Auster’s 2009 novel, Invisible, a few days ago and I’m not sure what to think of it (but I’ll give it a 7 out of 10). Again, it’s Paul Auster writing about a character that is himself thinly disguised — himself as a university student in the late ’60s making friends with people who turn out to be maybe not the greatest people on the planet. It’s another engaging existential journey, one that’s familiar to anyone who’s read Paul Auster, who I think could write a novel about someone hanging clothes out to dry and it would still suck you in. “Invisible” has that Paul Auster thing going on. So it’s a good read.

But that’s the most I can say about it because, for me, the book just ends without resolving any of the mysteries that are introduced in the first 300 pages of the novel. I had to take a 3-day break from the book before I could finish the last portion of it, so it’s possible I forgot some revealing detail during the break. But if anyone who has read the novel can tell me the truth behind the main event of the story, please leave a comment and let me know. Because I completely missed it — if it was revealed.

So except for not getting the ending, “Invisible” was a good read. I enjoyed it. I just didn’t get it.

Review of Paul Auster’s “Mr Vertigo”

null I finished reading Mr Vertigo by Paul Auster today and it’s an excellent read. It’s about a guy who learns to levitate and earns a living in a travelling road show. The narrator’s language is free and loose and the most laugh-out-loud entertaining of anything I’ve read from Auster. And as is the case with all of Auster’s stories, nothing goes as planned and all kinds of tragic and crazy events unfold, building up to an ending that could be considered inspiring and poetic.

I’ll take a photo of the book right now:

Mr Vertigo is the 3rd and last novel in Collected Novels – Volume Two. The omnibus series of collected novels is printed and mostly sold in the UK, which is too bad, because it’s a quality bound and printed book and I would be glad to have every volume in the series even though I already own many of Auster’s novels individually. I appreciate good solid books.