aul Auster is one of those writers who is always multitasking. His stories are never about just one thing, and you can never be sure what's going on behind the scenes until you turn the last page. This is why I hate him, not to mention envy him. And also why I love him.
appears at first to be the ordinary story of a young man, Miles Heller, who is working a dead-end job and trying to find some meaning in his life. But as we explore his history, his current living arrangements, and the people in his life, we start to see that we are really exploring the idea of growing up and what it means to live in the world. All of this, of course, is buried in the conversations and obsessions of Miles and his parents and friends.
Auster is a master of the perfect metaphor. Miles is in Florida when the book begins (though most of the book takes place in...
Beyond the Book
Alice Bergstrom, one of the characters in Sunset Park
, is writing her dissertation on the film The Best Years of Our Lives
. Almost everyone in the book has either seen it already or watches it with her so she can add their reactions to her observations. Auster draws many parallels between the story in the film and the story of his contemporary characters.
The film follows the lives of three WWII veterans who meet on their way home from the war. They become friends, and we watch them and their families as they try to return to their regular lives. Each comes home with different wounds - some physical, some emotional - and each has...