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
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.
The San Francisco Chronicle
A classical work of American literature in the most traditional 19th century meaning of the phrase. It is a multilayered tapestry, with whimsical chapter headings and Dickensian depth. It is a novel striving for a true sense of community.
Austin American-Statesman The Brooklyn Follies is a valentine to Auster's neighborhood. But it's in the
imagining that he place really comes alive; Auster is every bit as much the bard
of Brooklyn as was Whitman. It is his Yoknapatawpha County and then some.
Another Paul Auster masterpiece...He may, in fact, be America's best writer. The Brooklyn Follies is quite simply a wonderful, lyrical novel, a joyful celebration of life's pleasures and ironies"
... it's hard to be ironic and warm and fuzzy simultaneously, and the American novelist who most closely resembles England's Ian McEwan really shouldn't try to be Anne Tyler... An egregious misstep in an otherwise estimable career.
Booklist - Donna Seaman
Starred Review. Auster also takes subtle measure of a time that will live in infamy, the era of the 2000 election and September 11, 2001.
Starred Review. Auster's graceful, offhand storytelling carries readers along, with enough shadow to keep the tale this side of schmaltz. The result is an affectionate portrait of the city as the ultimate refuge of the human spirit.
The Observer - Toby Lichtig
His preoccupation with chance means that the reader must practise a lot of belief-suspension as the characters start to pinball from one odd encounter to the next.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Alex The Brooklyn Follies Reading this novel was not a satisfying experience for me. To my ear, the story never rang true. Nevertheless, I found it interesting and entertaining enough for the first 3/4 of the book. After that, for me, the author’s style became too didactic... Read More
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 Maplewood, New Jersey and then to Columbia University.
In 1967 he left the USA to attend Columbia's Junior Year Abroad in Paris, but
found it uninspiring and undemanding so quit college and lived in a small hotel
in Paris, before returning to the USA where he was reinstated at Columbia.
A high lottery...
U.S. ebook sales up in 2012, but rate of growth is slowing(May 16 2013) In 2012, trade book sales (i.e. non academic book sales) rose 6.9%, to $15.049 billion, and e-book sales continued to grow, although the rate of growth...