megcampbell3, October 27, 2007 (view all comments by megcampbell3)
I read this book in a day—couldn't put it down. I picked it out of my ever-growing/never-ending "to-read" stack because I would have liked to visit New York City this fall. "The Brooklyn Follies" didn't disappoint. As with all of Paul Auster's novels, it’s filled with happenings that seem out of the ordinary—one might even say bordering on fantastical for everyday life. The characters' (and they're all main characters) jaunts and journeys are a step beyond the bounds of our "what did you do today?" and yet it’s all relatable. Really, it's just a story about interesting people living life at full tilt. There’s no magic or illusion beyond the usual magic and illusion life throws to us outside the pages. In "The Brooklyn Follies", the foreground is all story; the atmosphere is Auster's sublime writing. Highly, highly recommended.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (9 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
Anagha, September 1, 2006 (view all comments by Anagha)
Auster's easy-to-read "The Brooklyn Follies" ties family crisis together with morality, politics, sex and love based on the follies of the human mind. Recommended reading for minds who like to observe life and its vissitudes.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (12 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
Henry Holt & Company -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Nathan Glass, a retired life insurance salesman estranged from his family and facing an iffy cancer prognosis, is 'looking for a quiet place to die. Someone recommended Brooklyn.' What he finds, though, in this ebullient novel by Brooklyn bard Auster (Oracle Night), is a vital, big-hearted borough brimming with great characters. These include Nathan's nephew, Tom, a grad student turned spiritually questing cab driver; Tom's serenely silent nine-year-old niece, who shows up on Tom's doorstep without her unstable mom; and a flamboyant book dealer hatching a scheme to sell a fraudulent manuscript of The Scarlet Letter. As Nathan recovers his soul through immersion in their lives, Auster meditates on the theme of sanctuary in American literature, from Hawthorne to Poe to Thoreau, infusing the novel's picaresque with touches of romanticism, Southern gothic and utopian yearning. But the book's presiding spirit is Brooklyn's first bard, Walt Whitman, as Auster embraces the borough's multitudes — neighborhood characters, drag queens, intellectuals manqu, greasy-spoon waitresses, urbane bourgeoisie — while singing odes to moonrise over the Brooklyn Bridge. Auster's graceful, offhand storytelling carries readers along, with enough shadow to keep the tale this side of schmaltz. The result is an affectionate portrait of the city as the ultimate refuge of the human spirit." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
Nathan Glass has come to Brooklyn to die. Divorced, retired, estranged from his only daughter, the former life insurance salesman seeks only solitude and anonymity. Then Glass encounters his long-lost nephew, Tom Wood, who is working in a local bookstore--a far cry from the brilliant academic career Tom had begun when Nathan saw him last. Tom's boss is the colorful and charismatic Harry Brightman--a.k.a. Harry Dunkel--once the owner of a Chicago art gallery, whom fate has also brought to the "ancient kingdom of Brooklyn, New York." Through Tom and Harry, Nathan's world gradually broadens to include a new circle of acquaintances. He soon finds himself drawn into a scam involving a forged page of The Scarlet Letter, and begins to undertake his own literary venture, The Book of Human Folly, an account of "every blunder, every pratfall, every embarrassment, every idiocy, every foible, and every inane act I have committed during my long and checkered career as a man."
The Brooklyn Follies is Paul Auster's warmest, most exuberant novel, a moving, unforgettable hymn to the glories and mysteries of ordinary human life.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.