Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Brooklyn Follies

by Paul Auster

Many would agree with that no matter how much excitement we throw ourselves into, with growing up we have to face more of mundanity as our responsibilities and tasks towards one another rises in importance. Due to this, we sometimes question the dull, and may in brief moments ask ourselves if this actually is it. The works of Paul Auster is a good remedy against such though. His writings tend to bring youthful enthusiasm to life, not necessarily cheerful but it forces nonetheless ones thoughts to follow new paths. They are a good formula for a promenade of reading exhilaration: "'It's about nonexistent worlds,' my newphew said. 'A study of the inner refuge, a map of the place a man goes to when life in the real world is no longer possible.'" Needless to emphasize further, I am a big fan of the guy.

Despite my affection for Austerian books I have had the beige and blue Henry Holt and Company first edition unread in my shelf the past two years at least. Perhaps it is because I needed a breather to be able appreciate the work, having consumed most of Paul Auster's novels in too little a time prior to that. In The Brooklyn Follies we get to follow Nathan Glass whom is returning to Brooklyn, where he hasn't lived or spent any of his time since he was three, and he does so because he has reason to believe his days are numbered. The 60-year-old is recently divorced and retired. Having worked all his life, and been quite successful in what he has done, he now has the economy to live of what he has saved. The stage is set for the classical character in Austers novels, the lonely man. This book is narrated through Nathan Glass, who perhaps had the honest intention of being solitary, but is by coincidence encountering parts of his family. As this happens on several occasions and he becomes wound up with new friends, this story is that of relations and interactions, and of the intimate emotions such is accompanied with.

Perchance my pause from Paul Auster has had a positive effect of my reading of the book. Some times the longer the intermission from the things we find better, the more we can appreciate the result. That is a delicate game to be played well though, as it can be of importance not to lose what the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi interprets as flow. In any case, the follies in Brooklyn that occured in the inner refuge during the 18 months up until the cataclysmic events of September 11th was a fantastic vaccination. I am Auster thankful for it. He is good at what he does.