Man in the Dark
I loved New York Trilogy as much as anyone, but in occasionally reading Auster's books since then, all I have learned is that it was a fluke. They are usually not terrible, but never once has he come close since his first collection of novellas. Man in the Dark is more of the same, but possibly not as good. It is a completely rambling tale that reads like a rough draft of a few different ideas crammed together.
A man suffering from insomnia lies in bed making up stories to get himself to sleep, unsuccessfully, though it worked wonders on me. From time to time he drifts out of sleep to think about his daughter, living upstairs, or his granddaughter who is also living upstairs. They have all three recently lost their spouses, though all completely separate from one another, and are living in a sorry state together in one house. It sputters to a conclusion, and you can almost see Auster lose enthusiasm as he was writing.
Suffice it to say that the book is appropriately morose, yet somehow lacks depth, glossing over important details while lingering in mediocrity. If someone handed it to me on the street and I read it knowing no details, I would assume it was a creative writing assignment penned by someone who will probably switch majors.
4 months ago