Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Paul Auster

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.


HoustonWok said...

Rubiao, I just read your post on Food in Houston page. You can try east wall chinese restaurant, on bellaire blvd inside of the beltway, i actually blogged about this place on my post. Cafe 101 on Bellaire Blvd which is in the same strip mall offers decent taiwanese food, right around the corner there are a bunch of chinese restaurants. Mostly inexpensive. From Montrose area, just take 59 heading south and exit bellaire blvd. Make a right when you get to Bellaire, right before you get to the Beltway 8, you'll see cafe 101 on the right handside, most of the menus are in english and they are posted outside of the windows. Hopefully you'll find something you like there.

neverfull said...

i went to auster's reading of the book of shadows in NY even though i couldn't get through the book. wanted to see what he was like. i'll tell you that it was one of the most boring literary readings events i've ever been to. his voice is totally monotone and i wanted to shoot myself b/c it was so painful sitting through the whole thing. i got a signed copy of NY trilogy out of it though. good meeting you yesterday.