Paul Auster, Author . Holt $25 (308p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9080-2

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.)

Reviewed on: 08/17/2009
Release date: 10/01/2009
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Hardcover - 336 pages - 978-89-329-1078-9
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Hardcover - 387 pages - 978-1-4104-1984-2
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Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-571-24951-0
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