Luminous, passionate, expansive, an emotional tour de force Sunset Park follows the hopes and fears of a cast of unforgettable characters brought together by the mysterious Miles Heller during the dark months of the 2008 economic collapse.
An enigmatic young man employed as a trash-out worker in southern Florida obsessively photographing thousands of abandoned objects left behind by the evicted families.
A group of young people squatting in an apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
The Hospital for Broken Things, which specializes in repairing the artifacts of a vanished world.
William Wyler's 1946 classic The Best Years of Our Lives.
A celebrated actress preparing to return to Broadway.
An independent publisher desperately trying to save his business and his marriage.
These are just some of the elements Auster magically weaves together in this immensely moving novel about contemporary America and its ghosts. Sunset Park is a surprising departure that confirms Paul Auster as one of our greatest living writers.
Watch the video clip below to hear Paul Auster read from Sunset Park:
For almost a year now, he has been taking photographs of abandoned things. There are at least two jobs every day, sometimes as many as six or seven, and each time he and his cohorts enter another house, they are confronted by the things, the innumerable cast-off things left behind by the departed families. The absent people have all fled in haste, in shame, in confusion, and it is certain that wherever they are living now (if they have found a place to live and are not camped out in the streets) their new dwellings are smaller than the houses they have lost. Each house is a story of failure - of bankruptcy and default, of debt and foreclosure - and he has taken it upon himself to document the last, lingering traces of those scattered lives in order to prove that the vanished families were once here, that the ghosts of people he will never see and never know are still present in the discarded ...
Paul 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... The point here, as with every Auster novel I've read, is that the story of our lives is not the same thing as life itself. The story is just how we make sense of it all.
(Reviewed by Beverly Melven).
Full Review (865 words).
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 difficulty adjusting. Jobs are lost, marriages dissolve, but there is hope.
In his review of the ...
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