Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies (2005)
I have heard almost only good critics from my friends about Paul Auster, so I was quite hopeful he would be more elusive than most contemporary books I have read or the books I read from the New York Times best sellers list. Well, The Brooklyn Follies might escape the Oprah level, but he does not escape the flaws of the American story telling tradition imo: extravagant plots, outrageous events, extraordinary individuals all wrapped up in a fast paced unraveling in a flat storyline where character development is an underrated writer’s skill. I did enjoy reading The Brooklyn Follies though, great vocabulary and witty plot, and I will admit to the fantastic last 5 pages that come close to classic literature. I felt depressed that he had to throw or force in the affair of Nathan Glass with Joyce Mazzucchelli, and that the outrageous characters with their outrageous lives (the porn star singer sect convert turned lesbian cousin, or the repressed homosexual turned philantropist art forger rare book dealer turned scamming savior who has a compassionate love relation with the Jamaican HIV positive play-back artist cross-dressing sweetheart, to name a few) were not more like normal people with deeper and more sensitive characters, but hell you fuckers this is the great tradition of American story telling where everything ends well anyway and where every body (especially the males) get their fantasy fuck in the end. Well, sorry for that, just to say that I appreciate books like Book of Disquiet or Man’s Fate or writers like Dostoewski and Bulgakov more. I am hopelessly stuck in the 19th and first half of the 20th century.