9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable, readable, but not sure of its significance,
This review is from: Sunset Park (Hardcover)
I find Paul Auster's writing highly readable and thought-provoking but for me, not everything he does entirely works. So it is with "Sunset Park", ostensibly a book about how the global economic crisis of 2008 impacts a set of characters squatting in a dilapidated building in the area of New York that gives the book its title, although really the focus is less on finances and economics and more on relationships - romances, sexual encounters, family interactions and friendship.
I raced through this novel as Auster's prose held my attention, even if at times his subjects - e.g. erotic drawings, baseball, the father-son dynamic - were not ones that really spoke to me. Some readers may have an issue with the less than structured narrative, jumps in perspective and the nature of the denouement, but my real criticism of the book would be of its characters. Too many are introduced and a number are insufficiently developed, rendering them unconvincing. Father and son Morris and Miles Heller ring true, together with Miles's actress mother, but Ellen and particularly Alice, the female contingent at the Sunset Park house, are not particularly well-drawn. Personally I didn't really buy the Bing character at all. And whilst Miles leaves an impression on the reader, for me it was hard to see why everyone around him warmed to him so much and wanted his approval; that didn't really strike a real chord with me, either.
Having made criticisms of the characterisation, I'll return to the engaging writing as a good reason to pick this book up, although it doesn't show Auster at his most imaginative, experimental or original, which means longstanding fans might find it one of his lesser works and those new to his novels might want to start elsewhere. If you are looking for a compelling read with some interesting stylistic flourishes and a literary novel that keeps you turning the pages, however, this might not be a bad bet.
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Initial post: 29 Dec 2010 14:00:19 GMT
Great review. Thank you.
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