“The problem with this book is I was more interested in and engaged by the subplot. I was really rooting for Owen Brick and I was hoping the book would end with a struggle between Owen and August, leaving the reader wondering what really happened. Alas, the author did not share my vision and that subplot ended 2/3 of the way through the book. Pity, because I found Owen infinitely more interesting and sympathetic than August. ”augrads wrote this review Thursday, February 19, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Really, a short story embedded in a novella, both of which are well-written and enjoyable. In these few short pages, Auster paints a picture of loss, pain, and family connectedness. It was fun finding the threads that connected the story of Owen Brick with his author's life. I just wish there was more. ”DrRenee wrote this review Tuesday, February 17, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When I finished reading, I wanted to know what happened to Owen !! I don't know if you guys felt the same way, but the book left me craving to know what happens to him. But, that was the whole point of the story. We suffer because we can't ever surmise what life is going to throw our way, or take away. The metaphor of the dark ties in nicely with the idea that we are all in the dark; we don't have a manual that tells us how to live life, or what to do if caught in bad situations. We do what our nature tells us to do, whether that is watching movies with our grandfathers, or creating fictional stories in our rooms once everyone has closed their eyes.
This book reminded me a lot of Kurt Vonnegaut's (spelling?) books. The story that August creates at night so that he can escape from painful memories was very believable. I felt like I was there, right with Owen, wondering what the hell was going on with America. The writing flowed nicely without any awkward moments in the novel.
The book is mainly about discovering ourselves when we feel that we are broken inside. The book describes the things that we hide from the public, the things we are ashamed of, like watching movies all day and then falling asleep. And it's also about learning to let go and live again. This was a very short read, but it was packed with meaning.
As the weird world rolls on.... :)”
“Auster remains a good writer, but this isn't my favourite. ”Jason wrote this review Saturday, December 27, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Auster is one of those authors that I try to read everything he writes and over the years has built a lot of cred with me. So even if I don't think a particular work is his best effort and honestly if written by someone else I suspect I might criticize much harder, I am willing to always go on the ride with him. The thing about Auster is he constantly makes me think about the act of writing, reading, and "art" and what place they have in the contemporary world. This was again the case with this book. Any book that makes me think (even if as a literary adventure it fails) gets more points from me nowadays than a simple good yarn. This book is about 3 people suffering their own personal tragedies against the backdrop of the world calamities of the Bush presidency and how they aren't really that separate...living our lives, art, and historic events. The book feels incomplete, like there should be more, some might even argued it feels rushed, but I am ok with thinking that it was just a drop-in, an impression of the lives of some characters, and letting that percolate as a reader is what makes it work for me.”mrcornie wrote this review Monday, December 22, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved the story within the story, wish it didn't end so soon. The long conversation at the end between gramps and granddaughter didn't hold my attention.”dshugrue wrote this review Tuesday, October 21, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A book that is obviously well-written and hard to put down but still somewhat off-putting. The metaphor of two worlds existing at the same time does not add meaning or suspense, and the resolution at the end is unsatisfactory. ”Jane W wrote this review Saturday, October 18, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Read by Kathie
August Brill, 72, lives with his daughter, 47, and his granddaughter, 23, while recovering from a car accident. Suffering from insomnia he makes up stories during the dark of the night to avoid dealing with his wife's death and the murder of his granddaughter's boyfriend.
The story August tells is of an ordinary man, Owen Brick, who is plucked from his ordinary life and thrown into an alternate America which is in the middle of a civil war with state after state pulling away from the union. It is a stark, violent and unfathomable world and the story intensifies as Brill tries desperately to avoid his own pain. He is joined in the early hours of the night by his also sleepless granddaughter. He guardedly at first and then more openly shares the story of his marriage in a truthful, poignant way. His relationship grows stronger with his granddaughter in the telling of his own story.
This is an intelligently written, imaginative story within a story. The parallels between the two Americas and Brill and the character he creates during the night are gripping. His depiction of his marriage and his relationship with his granddaughter engender warm emotions in the reader. Overall an intriguing, fanciful and satisfying read.”
“I do love Paul Auster's writing, but this book was just okay. I'm not sure why he chose to write on the subject of grief and dying, but I thought it came up short on both subjects.”ryfinskibooknut wrote this review Wednesday, October 8, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Reading Auster's 'Brooklyn Follies' as a prelude to reading this short novel is the right 'preparation' for this short yet profound read. I like it!
There are some interesting parallels, here, between Philip Roth and Paul Auster. Both are from Newark, although Auster is 13 years younger. Both have Jewish themes. Both are writing about the aging process. Both are prolific writers
I can relate to both writers and am happy to read either of them when I can....!”