I have gone on and on and on about why this author and I aren’t really that chummy. A representative summary: His The New York Trilogy impressed me, but failed to touch my heart; and then, I was so in love with his Invisible that I hazarded saying, “I like this ‘new’ Paul Auster.” And so, when his latest came out in paperback, I snatched it up.
The universe laughed at me with Sunset Park, though—all I could do was sigh at its end. What follows are short items on why I would not recognize Sunset Park as a Paul Auster novel, if it happened to have been handed to me stripped of its cover:
- Auster specializes in golden boys. No sign of them here; the main character, Miles, sheds that pretty quickly [and, insignificantly, given that we’re given two sentences or so detailing that part of his life.] This novel is rife with losers. Not underdogs, mind you, but them down-and-out miserable creatures that live in the underbelly of society.
- What, no meta-narratives? No sly, dark, and brooding contemplation about the [insert appropriate adjective—gelatinous?] life of a writer, of an artist? No one is brutally and literary-technique-y murdered? You’re settling for a token coincidence here and there?
- The whole novel is a series of character studies. Or, well, whenever a secondary character comes into the picture, it’s to trace his relationship with Miles Heller. Exhaustive character studies in tiny type and a Sasha not in the best mood to take it all in. Hell, character-driven is right up my alley, no? But, mind you, I started reading this in June. And then, well, my setting it aside sort of got out of hand.
No excitement in me, none whatsoever, in talking about this book. Auster’s always given me a lot to think about before. This book, well, this book’s just, uhm, meh. Yeah, it’s good, it is. But, well, it’s not what I want, it’s not what I want for Auster.
It’s a strange feeling, having kept an author at a distance, and then when he comes to you in a form you think would suit you, it’s a disastrous encounter. Hm. I think I’m ready to reread The New York Trilogy.
PSA: I bought this book from National Bookstore for PhP315. I saw a couple in the Katipunan branch, neighbors.