This is my 4th walk in Auster-world, and probably my least favorite. But my feelings and expectations towards Mr Auster have somewhat shifted. I was at first disappointed when I didn’t find that spark from New York Trilogy anywhere else, but now that I’m not looking for it anymore, I’m starting to appreciate other things.
He’s not a “great” writer by any measure, his plots are contrived one moment and rather cheesy and predictable the next. His characters seem sketchy and his forays into supernatural are more on the mundane side. That being said, I know for sure that I love him. His books feel like home; they are what you want to curl up with, they draw you in so easily and so unexpectedly that you can’t put them down until you’ve reached the last page. Plus, he makes writing seem like the easiest job in the world. I’m sure his phrases and words are worked and reworked a million times, but the flow is so natural that it gives the impression of being written in one swift breath. The occasional bouts of predictability (occasional because, make no mistake, it’s not a dull ride) are comforting and the recurrence of the writer motif, of Brooklyn & New York are something I now look forward to. He’s grown on me so much, and I like that, whenever I’m in a reading rut, he can pull me out.
Now…Oracle Night. The plot is very straightforward, and you can see it on wikipedia (I’m just too lazy to type). Plus, the review at The Guardian. Me – I liked the randomness of events and people’s desperate attempts at interconnecting them in order to fit in some pre-created pattern (the anecdote about the poet’s drowning daughter). I would have liked to see Bowen (the character from the novel within the novel) crawl out of his tight spot, because he did what probably many of us only dream to do: he simply walked out of a life, choosing to start another. No looking back, no regrets. And that kind of attitude fascinates me because I can’t reproduce it within me. I’m a creature of habit, of comfort and meaningless possessions but I every so often wonder “what if…”. And, my favorite thing – the choice of the blue notebook, the importance and symbolism of plain old stationery. Bonus, yet another mention of Thoreau & Walden – from now on I’m gonna track them more closely. 😉