In Invisible the coming-of-age story is dazzlingly reinvented by Paul Auster, one of America's greatest novelists, in his most passionate and surprising book to date.
Paul Auster was born in Newark, New Jersey in the United States in 1947. After attending Columbia University, he lived in France for four years. Since 1974 he has published poems, essays, novels, screenplays and translations. He was the editor of the short story anthology, True Tales of American Life. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Auster's 15th novel at first may sound like another story about the familiar themes the writer's fans have come to expect: Brooklyn and New York, bohemian protagonists and their enigmatic sidekicks, meaningful quests for truth, and convoluted plots realistic enough to keep you from second-guessing the actions of the characters. Indeed, the story incorporates all such elements: divided into four distinct parts, told by three different narrators, and spanning 40 years, it is centered on the relationship among an aspiring Columbia University student-poet, a mysterious professor, and the professor's girlfriend that starts out as friendship but ends in manipulation and murder. Whether such themes still excite longtime Auster fans is less important than his still remarkably strong storytelling-perhaps even more so than in recent works of fiction-that his characters are still unpredictable and full of passion for life, and that once we start reading those masterfully bare sentences, we don't want to stop. VERDICT If you've never read Auster, this is a great place to start and work your way backward to such classics as the City of Glass and Leviathan. If you've been a fan for a long time, you will not be disappointed.-Mirela Roncevic, Library Journal Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
In his latest, Auster is in classic form, perhaps too perfectly satisfying the contention of his wearied protagonist: "there is far more poetry in the world than justice." Adam Walker, a poetry student at Columbia in the spring of 1967, is Auster's latest everyman, revealed in four parts through the diary entries of a onetime admirer, the confessions of his once-close friend, the denials of his sister and Walker's own self-made frame. With crisp, taut prose, Auster pushes the tension and his characters' peculiar self-awareness to their limits, giving Walker a fractured, knowing quality that doesn't always hold. The best moments from Walker's disparate, disturbing coming-of-age come in lush passages detailing Walker's conflicted, incestuous love life (paramount to his "education as a human being," but a violation of his self-made promise to live "as an ethical human being"). As the plot moves toward a Heart of Darkness-style journey into madness, the limits of Auster's formalism become more apparent, but this study of a young poet doomed to life as a manifestation of poetry carries startling weight. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.