(This post was written a few days ago, before Auster’s presentation of his latest book was cancelled owing to sickness)
To mark next week’s visit of Paul Auster to Barcelona, this friday we’re going to turn our look to his work (needless to say how happy this makes me.)
While writing this post I can’t take out of my head the book I’m carrying with me these days. The New York Trilogy. Second time I read it. I’m reading a completely different novel now. I read it for the first time over 5 years ago and after the whole amount of readings and the new me (just a more experienced person, with new and more defined goals) I’m able to read part of my current self in there.
What is it that has made me fall in love with this man so deeply? Truly… I have no idea. I like to think. He makes me think in a freely way. I love anyone who makes me think. But Auster gives me something that I really love and that is that “possibility” might exist. I like his open ends and the way he treats his characters. I like even the names he gives them. I like what he questions. I like that intellectual and literaly touch he always adds. I like how he holds your hand while you’re reading one of his novels ans takes you to another question that only you have. I like his intellectual characters, how they try to understand… to give meaning to meaningless things that have meaning. I like how some of them struggle to do what they believe in. I like how he shows you things you couldn’t imagine when you thought everything was invented. I love how everything is related and connected.
Two years ago I attended the presentation of his book Man in the Dark and had the chance to see him and listen to him (by the way, the plot and the story’s composition are excellent). Someone pretending to know what everything is about, pretending to understand that all the meaning lies in the surface, asked him: “You were trying to make a paralellism with the war in Iraq and you were meaning blah blah blah…, right?”
… and I loved the answer: “No.”
It wasn’t a “no” as a “I was pretending something very different” but as “I’m not trying to give you a clear answer for all the questions society is making itself. Probably I’ll give you more questions that will help you to find a proper (or a closer) answer. I’m not trying anything… this story just came to my mind and I felt the need to write it.”
But what is today’s book? Sunset Park was recently released but I haven’t read it yet, so I’m going to recommend his previous novel, Invisible.
Invisible tells you the story of a young man… and I can tell no more, sorry.
Invisible is changeable and perturbing, really perturbing. I remember finding myself thinking “where do you want to take me, Paul?” I didn’t know if I was liking the book or just reading it because it was really well written and I was enjoying the way he was playing with narration. But then you find this moment towards the end where you read a sentence and you understand it all. And you think “it’s a masterpiece.” And if you go further, if you don’t stay in the surface, you realize that Auster has been leading you all the way through the novel, he’s told you a story and then he whispers in your ear “look back” and you do look back and you see it all so clear. And so unclear. And you see “possibility” exists. And you see what is Invisible.
“Dread has become fact. Innocence has turned into guilt, and hope is a word that rhymes with despair.” (Invisible)
to finish and to start enjoying Sunset Park, I will add.
“in the end books are not luxuries so much as necessities, and reading is an addiction he has no wish to be cured of.” (Sunset Park)
(to listen to Paul Auster reading Sunset Park’s first chapter here)
I’d recommend reading anything by Auster, especially The Book of Illusions, The Brooklyn Follies and the mentioned above.
Hope you enjoy them as much as I do and..
(what would you recommend us?)