Man in the Dark
By Paul Auster
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312428518, 192pp.)
Publication Date: April 28, 2009
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A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
"Man in the Dark is an undoubted pleasure to read. Auster really does possess the wand of the enchanter."--Michael Dirda, The New York Review of Books
From a "literary original" (The Wall Street Journal) comes a book that forces us to confront the blackness of night even as it celebrates the existence of ordinary joys in a world capable of the most grotesque violence. Seventy-two-year-old August Brill is recovering from a car accident at his daughter's house in Vermont. When sleep refuses to come, he lies in bed and tells himself stories, struggling to push back thoughts about things he would prefer to forget: his wife's recent death and the horrific murder of his granddaughter's boyfriend, Titus. The retired book critic imagines a parallel world in which America is not at war with Iraq but with itself. In this other America the twin towers did not fall and the 2000 election results led to secession, as state after state pulled away from the union and a bloody civil war ensued. As the night progresses, Brill's story grows increasingly intense, and what he is desperately trying to avoid insists on being told.
PAUL AUSTER is the bestselling author of Travels in the Scriptorium, The Brooklyn Follies, and Oracle Night. I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project anthology, which he edited, was a national bestseller. His work has been translated into thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"Works beautifully . . . This is perhaps Auster's best book. Like Vonnegut's classic anti-war novel [Slaughterhouse Five], Auster's book leaves one with a depth of feeling much larger than might be expected from such a small and concise work of art."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Man in the Dark is at once haunting, thought-provoking, emotional, and compellingly readable."--The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Remarkable . . . Man in the Dark possesses a grand and generous heart."--The Boston Globe
"Auster's latest astute and mesmerizing metaphysical fiction . . . A master of the matter-of-factly fantastic, Auster tells an utterly authentic story of culpability and survival, the vortex of loss, and our endless struggle to translate terror into understanding."--Booklist (starred review)
"A novel that kept my attention from the first page all the way to the last. Frankly, it hypnotized me."--NPR's All Things Considered
"[Auster's] magic has never flourished more fully than it does in Man in the Dark. . . . The novel delivers intense reading pleasure from start to finish."--Orlando Sentinel"Provoking and entertaining in brilliant fashion . . . [Auster] draws you into a literary maze and sets you marveling at how he will get you out."--The Seattle Times
"Intricately layered, playful with the notions of 'real' and 'unreal' . . . Man in the Dark is the work of a master, confident of his powers to move readers smoothly between worlds, totally in control of setting, pace, and dialogue. . . . A deep, fraught book."--Daily Kos
"Auster has crafted a stirring, politically charged portrait of the power of fiction."--The Star-Ledger (Newark)