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DARKNESS SURROUNDS HIM,
This review is from: Man in the Dark (Audio CD)
Loneliness takes many forms. For some it is a feeling of intense isolation even in a crowd or a room full of friends. If it is dark, nighttime, one may feel almost disabled by desolation. You truly are alone save for your thoughts, memories, unanswered questions that prevent sleep and only summon remorse. That is the condition in which August Brill finds himself in Paul Auster's brilliantly challenging latest novel "Man In The Dark."
At 72 years of age Brill finds himself in his daughter's Vermont home where he is trying to recover from an automobile accident. Sleep eludes him as he recalls past tragedies - the death of his wife, the desertion of his daughter's husband, the death in Iraq of Titus, his granddaughter's fiancé. A retired book critic Brill has a fertile imagination, and sees in his mind's eye quite a different America, and it is a haunting scene - a place where there has not been a terrorist attack, our country is not at war save for within itself when New York and 16 other states secede from the Union.
He flagellates himself for these thoughts, saying, "Why am I doing this? Why do I persist in traveling down these old, tired paths; why this compulsion to pick at old wounds and make myself bleed again?"
Auster, as is his wont, challenges us to consider the world in which we live. He underscores the atrocities of war by relating the horrible death of Titus that is posted on the Internet and seen by Brill and his granddaughter.
Brilliant, shocking? Yes. It is also unforgettable, undeniably the work of one of the most creative minds of our generation.
Auster's narration of his work brings an added depth to the story. For this listener there is a greater understanding of the author's intention when the inflections, phrasings, and emphases are his own.
- Gail Cooke