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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Auster
I'm a big Auster fan and this is probably my favourite book of his. It grips from the start as the story of Ben Sachs told through the eyes of his friend Peter Aaron. Its a great story and the characters are well drawn. The terrorism theme is unusual for him, and has echoes of American Pastoral by Philip Roth- both books have friends and family struggling to come to terms...
Published on 10 Sep 2006 by Barca 82

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A man in search of his own liberation
Benjamin Sachs story is "conveyed through the eyes of his friend Peter Aaron, a novelist who discovers in the book's opening pages that Sachs has died in a mysterious bomb explosion. Aaron sets out to write the definitive version of Sachs's story before the FBI can formulate theirs." Benjamin Sachs is a writer, a philosopher, a man with loyalties and passions. But more...
Published on 13 Jan 2004 by www.bibliofemme.com


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Auster, 10 Sep 2006
I'm a big Auster fan and this is probably my favourite book of his. It grips from the start as the story of Ben Sachs told through the eyes of his friend Peter Aaron. Its a great story and the characters are well drawn. The terrorism theme is unusual for him, and has echoes of American Pastoral by Philip Roth- both books have friends and family struggling to come to terms with a radical acquaintance.
Auster uses the statue of liberty as a fitting allegory for the establishment and for the way people settle for less, in a world bereft of truth, meaning or ideology. Ben Sachs is an unforgettable character, but what lingers is the compromised muddied relationship between Aaron and Sachs, and the things left unsaid and undone.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A man in search of his own liberation, 13 Jan 2004
Benjamin Sachs story is "conveyed through the eyes of his friend Peter Aaron, a novelist who discovers in the book's opening pages that Sachs has died in a mysterious bomb explosion. Aaron sets out to write the definitive version of Sachs's story before the FBI can formulate theirs." Benjamin Sachs is a writer, a philosopher, a man with loyalties and passions. But more than that Benjamin Sachs is a questioner - he questions his own nature and psychosocial make up, he tests himself and probes deeper to understand who he is and also the nature of humanity, fate, destiny and chance. He is willing to give up his wife, career and practical reason in his search. Many incidents in this book can be criticised as unreal - the seemingly simple triggering of Sachs "series of fateful events" and the many coincidence that pop up to escalate these events, however far from building a sense of unreality I feel they render a state of hyper reality - how many times have you said "if I told you, you wouldn't believe it". Here Auster has told it and in a manner in which we can see this mans wrenching search into himself. Indeed many of the events are based autobiographically on Auster's own life. I particularly love the passages outlining Sachs efforts to alienate his wife - to get her to leave him rather than the other way around, Sachs attempts to "innocently" touch Maria and the deepening of Aaron's friendship with Sachs to the extent that he wishes to slip into his skin - to sleep with Sachs wife, oh these and many more threads I found wonderfully and unnervingly real.
This book has been much read due to its "anti-establishment" content, yet I feel this book is less to do with the macrocosm of the American nation and more to do with the microcosm of mans struggle with his self and of the freedom imparted by the near death experience. Auster himself has quoted the Greek saying. `Judge no man's happiness until he is dead' in relation to this work. Sachs bombings of Statue of Liberty replicas can be on the surface seen as anti-establishment statements but what is more then can be seen as Sachs blowing up fear - stultifying fear, as first witnessed in his mothers experience on climbing the stature of liberty. 'The Phantom of Liberty' being less a terrorist of the state and more a man in search of his own liberation.
This book should also be read by fans of contemporary art in particular the Artist Sophie Calle - whose works Auster weaves into the story through the character of Maria.
In my reading so far I find this book to be a rare gem - a psychological narrative with action. I'm off to buy the rest of his works.
The Artist
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and valuable reading material, 13 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
I read Paul Auster's Leviathan at school and I very much liked the novel. It's full of interesting characters and contains a remarkable net of relationships. Paul Auster deals with quite a number of aspects of every day's life in the modern age. I also liked the construction of the novel although some coincidences especially towards the end are less likely to happen. Dealing with the novel in class we focused on the aspect of identity presented in the novel. Every chapter is full of references to this very actual topid. Besides it was interesting to observe the changes in character of the two protagonists, Peter Aaron who is also the novelist, and Benjamin Sachs. Peter Aaron's life is rather typical of our days whereas Sachs's life often contains more preposterous aspects. In the end I was a little bit disappointed when I had finished the book and some secrets were left unsolved. But after reflecting the novel I recognized that maybe here lies the intention of the novel. The reader should realize that the novel is not of political or thrilling character but of psycological quality. It may intend to force the reader to think about himself and his environment. All in all Leviathen is interesting and valuable reading material and the reader who is not satisfied with more superficial entertainment has several aspects to think about. I would highly recommend the novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another surreal stunner from Mr Auster, 26 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
A very stylish tale which begins with a bang. A man with Paul Auster's initials announces that this book is going to be the story of his best friend, another novelist. So basically we have a novelist (Mr Auster) telling another novelist's story which is another novelist's story. The mind reels and you've only just begun! A seemingly conventional plot slowly twists and fractures and we meet more characters who seem, like the narrator has, to take on others' roles and personas. What it's all about, I can't really say, but it's a gorgeously constructed and provocative tale. A puzzle you'll still be trying to fathom long after it's over. It's dedicated to the novelist Don DeLillo and there are things here which definitely reflect the prevailing theme in DeLillo's MAO II about the succession from novelists to anarchic bombers. But whatever you decide Leviathan's about, as with other Auster books, it's about more. A final twist sends everything you thought you'd got your head round shooting into space. If all this sounds disconcerting, it's not meant to - it's a stunning book which, like all the best ones, you can really lose yourself in (the only problem here, though, is that you might never find your way out again!). A trip into this unordinary. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full of action and tension, 3 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
The story of "Leviathan" is about the fate of two novelists - one is the narrator, Peter Aaron, and the other one is his best ally Benjamin Sachs. It starts with a newspaper article about a man who blew himself up on a road in Northern Wisconsin which arouses the suspicion in Peter Aaron that this man was his friend Benjamin. After the two FBI-men, who investigate on the case, came to Aaron (led by a telephone number found in the coat of the dead body), the narrator tells us about all the ups and downs of the life of Sachs in a very detailed way. He comments on the events and draws his conclusions - very well understandable and with aspects you would not directly think of. The way he tells it reveals also interesting traits of himself. The story is constructed very systematically, in chronological order and "everything is connected to everything". The book is full of action and tension although you know the end right from the start. There is no event you may predict and there are many surprising and somehow ironical chances.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Unabomber "Apologia pro vita sua.", 1 Dec 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
I first came across Mr Auster's books while working in Japan. I read everything in the English section of the local bookstore, and his "New York Trilogy" was one of the books I devoured. The "New York Trilogy" stuck in my mind because of the relentless grayness and over-control of the lives described therein. Everything was *so* carefully considered, including the assorted manias of the various dysfunctional characters. "Leviathan" continues this grayness and over-control, to the tune of "Sympathy for the Unabomber." It plots the self-destructive trajectory of a writer accidentally turned protest-bomber and reads like a "Seinfeld" episode produced by a really depressed team. The strange thing about Auster's books is that, like a really bad traffic accident, they draw me as they repulse me, so that when I get about 90% of the way through one of them, I'm saying to myself "For God's sake, put this thing down." Then I finish. Mr. Auster's probably a great writer. He just depresses me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written social history of New York, 16 Oct 2010
By 
Jo Bennie (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Auster's book is written from the point of view of Peter Aaron, writer, and is his biography of his friend, political writer turned activist, Benjamin Sachs. Aaron uncovers Sachs' life, their shared history in New York, lovers, friends, and what drove his friend to become so alienated from and opposed to corporate America.
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4.0 out of 5 stars crafty, but flawed by the writer's philosophizing conceits, 19 May 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
The book is meticulously written and structured with knowing complexity. What usually hurts Auster's books are his overreliance on the philosophical issues to propel the narrative or define the characters' motivation or psychology. The books simply become illustrations of the ideas rather than ideas revealing themselves out of the writings. Nevertheless, Auster is powerful when indicating small metaphysical details that everyday existence represses, and elegance of his prose is perhaps only matched by DeLillo among Americans. One other point: Auster has not thoght through the textual implications that first person narratives present. At the end of the book, there is a passage indicating that the narrator gave the very text that he wrote to the FBI agents. How could he have written about the act itself given that we should believe the verity of this writing as a confession?
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5.0 out of 5 stars MAGIC, 16 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
Someone gave me this book, I don't know who. I think it was a gift from the newspaper,... Anyway it was fantastic. Rading this book was like having the need of knowing more and more about it. On the one had I wanted to end reading it but on the other hand I had a sad feeling of doing it. I had ever heard nothing about Paul Auster, but since then I started reading any thing I found about him. He is an artist. I think that there is not much people able to write as he does it. His descriptions are exelent, and all the people he introduces you seem to be real and near to you. First of all I tried to tell my friends to read it , but his name seemed strange to them and didn't trust on me. But now I feel I am not the only one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating Austerish tale - simply a masterpiece, 29 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Leviathan (Paperback)
The story-teller's story about his friend Benjamin Sachs is just as fantastic as the monumental New York Trilogy. The reader never knows what turns the story may take on its digressionnal way to the end. B. Sachs is a fascinating character, encorporating typical Austerish features. As in the aforementioned New york Trilogy, coincidences steer our lives, bringing both happiness and accidental misfortunes, something Mr. Sachs experiences. Interpersonal relations are also important in this novel; maybe they represent a hope in a chaotic , shall I say post- modernist world. Nevertheless, I'm thrilled having read this novel, and I'm looking forward to reading it again in the near future. Thank you, Paul!
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Leviathan
Leviathan by Paul Auster (Paperback - 2 Jun 2011)
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