Man in the Dark: Book summary and reviews of Man in the Dark by Paul Auster

Man in the Dark

A Novel

By Paul Auster

Man in the Dark
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2008,
    192 pages.

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Book Summary

Seventy-two-year-old August Brill is recovering from a car accident in his daughter’s house in Vermont. When sleep refuses to come, he lies in bed and tells himself stories, struggling to push back thoughts about things he would prefer to forget—his wife’s recent death and the horrific murder of his granddaughter’s boyfriend, Titus. The retired book critic imagines a parallel world in which America is not at war with Iraq but with itself. In this other America the twin towers did not fall and the 2000 election results led to secession, as state after state pulled away from the union and a bloody civil war ensued.

As the night progresses, Brill’s story grows increasingly intense, and what he is so desperately trying to avoid insists on being told. Joined in the early hours by his granddaughter, he gradually opens up to her and recounts the story of his marriage. After she falls asleep, he at last finds the courage to revisit the trauma of Titus’s death.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The merging of nostalgia with a Philip K. Dick conceit doesn't wholly succeed, but Auster's juxtaposition of two worlds is compelling and intellectually rigorous in Auster's trademark claustrophobic hall-of-mirrors fashion." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. Auster's trademark shattering ending that's not a twist but a revelation hauntingly revitalizes the book's theme of the horrors of war. This best-selling author with a cult following of literati finally offers one to please both fan bases." - Library Journal.

"Starred Review. Probably Auster's best novel, and a plaintive summa of all the books that - we now see - have gone into its making. " - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Paul Auster Author Biography

Paul Benjamin Auster was born on February 3, 1947 in Newark, New Jersey.  His father, Samuel Auster, was a landlord; his mother, Queenie was about 13 years younger than her husband; the marriage was not a happy one. When Auster was about 3, his mother gave birth to a daughter; sadly by the time she was five it was apparent that she was psychologically unstable, and later suffered mental breakdowns. 

Auster's passion for reading began when he was about 12 and his uncle, Allen Mandelbaum (a professor of Italian literature, a poet, and a prolific translator) left several boxes of books in storage in the Auster's house while he traveled to Europe.  Paul read the books avidly and developed an interest in writing and literature that further accentuated his ...

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