Through Tom and Harry, Nathan's world gradually broadens to include a new set of
acquaintances - not to mention a stray relative or two - and leads him to a
reckoning with his past.
Among the many twists in the delicious plot are a scam involving a forgery of the first page of The Scarlet Letter, a disturbing revelation that takes place in a sperm bank, and an impossible, utopian dream of a rural refuge. Meanwhile, the wry and acerbic Nathan has undertaken something he calls The Book of Human Folly, in which he proposes "to set down in the simplest, clearest language possible an account of every blunder, every pratfall, every embarrassment, every idiocy, every foible, and every inane act I had committed during my long and checkered career as a man." But life takes over instead, and Nathan's despair is swept away as he finds himself more and more implicated in the joys and sorrows of others.
The Brooklyn Follies is Paul Auster's warmest, most exuberant novel, a moving and unforgettable hymn to the glories and mysteries of ordinary human life.
I was looking for a quiet place to die. Someone recommended
Brooklyn, and so the next morning I traveled down there from Westchester to
scope out the terrain. I hadn't been back in fifty-six years, and I remembered
nothing. My parents had moved out of the city when I was three, but I
instinctively found myself returning to the neighborhood where we had lived,
crawling home like some wounded dog to the place of my birth. A local real
estate agent ushered me around to six or seven brownstone flats, and by the end
of the afternoon I had rented a two-bedroom garden apartment on First Street,
just half a block away from Prospect Park. I had no idea who my neighbors were,
and I didn't care. They all worked at nine-to-five jobs, none of them had any
children, and therefore the building would be relatively silent. More than
anything else, that was what I craved. A silent end to my sad and ridiculous
The house in Bronxville was ...
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.
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 feeling that he was "an internal émigré, an exile in my own house." (from his memoir, Hand to Mouth)
He went to school in ...
If you liked The Brooklyn Follies, try these:
A moving, ambitious and richly conceived novel that summons up the heroics and follies of twentieth-century life.
Hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking, Colm Tóibín's sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.
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Southern Gothic fantasy with a contemporary flare set in Savannah
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