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Leviathan, New York Trilogy... Five books by Paul Auster that you must have read

“The New York trilogy signaled this to the public.

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Leviathan, New York Trilogy... Five books by Paul Auster that you must have read

“The New York trilogy signaled this to the public. City of Glass (1985), Revenants (1987), The Hidden Room (1988) revealed his singular talent, full of references, fictions with drawers", wrote Eric Neuhoff in his article of May 1, when we learned yesterday the death of the writer Paul Auster, at the age of 77.

This series of three books, published between 1985 and 1987, made the author one of the favorite writers of the French. In three years, she laid the foundations of Austerian writing. There we find the one who will become one of the main characters in his work: New York. And already authors, in this case Quinn, and detectives - Quinn again, who we will have taken for an investigator named Paul Auster - who have the unfortunate habit of losing someone close to them. Through this fresco, the novelist's themes are also posed; through investigations, always in-depth and meticulous, he explores the ontological question of freedom, solitude, emptiness and identity.

In 1989, the journalist Claude Michel wrote in Le Figaro littéraire: “The unity of the whole, the dreamlike realism reigning over the City of Glass, these identity games which would have delighted Orson Welles and the triumph of failure continue the reader page after page.”

Here we are in the shoes of a certain Marco Stanley Fogg. Orphaned, Marco never knew who his father was. His mother died, hit by a bus, without having revealed her secret to him. For all his family, this disinherited person has only one uncle, a clarinet player, who left him his books, his instrument, an old tweed suit and his faith in omens, before dying early.

Left behind and without money, he is forced to abandon his accommodation, and the view he had of the Moon Palace, a Chinese bar on Broadway, sliding towards homelessness. It is half dead that his friend Zimmer and Kitty Wu find him. From there Marco is drawn into a whirlwind of adventures which make him encounter a host of eccentric characters and cross fantastic landscapes...

Bruno de Cessole wrote in Le Figaro littéraire of May 14, 1990: “Under the cloak of a picaresque novel, teeming with adventures and impromptus (and not devoid of a few lengths, sometimes), Paul Auster juggles with some themes which are his dear since The Invention of Solitude, his first story of an autobiographical nature. First and foremost, the quest for the father, the reign of chance, the deception of appearances and the universal law of solitude. The reader of the New York trilogy will discover here a novelist less concerned with brilliance and effect than with sincerity and humanity. It could well be that with Moon Palace, adventures of a modern Telemachus in search of his identity and the meaning of existence, Paul Auster has signed the book of his maturity.

Foreign Medici Prize 1993, Leviathan is the story written by a certain Peter Aaron (the same initials as Paul Auster). He has just learned in the newspaper of the death of his best friend, Benjamin Sachs, torn to pieces by the bomb he was assembling. How and why did Benjamin Sachs, a talented writer and brilliant intellectual, become this “gentle anguished prophet” hell-bent on blowing up replicas of the Statue of Liberty?

In his issue of February 22, 1996, Bruno Corty wrote: “We can read Leviathan as a gigantic flashback—on a man's descent into hell, as a fascinating twisting fiction. It is also the uncompromising portrait of an America which has denied its founding values ​​and of a generation of men who believed themselves capable of changing the world. It is Paul Auster's most ambitious book, the most thrilling and undoubtedly the most successful.

It was in 2010. Paul Auster was 64 years old. While passing through Paris, he had seen Le Figaro and confided: “This is the first time that I have written a novel in the present tense. Throughout its development I felt a strange energy. My work pace was frenetic. I finished the story very quickly, in a rush. I came out exhausted. » He added that as he was now “old”, he could do what he wanted. “This book is a challenge. The interest of the novel is that we always learn.”

The story of the book: Miles Heller is a 28-year-old anti-hero. Following a tragedy for which he claims to be responsible, this young man from a good family left his family and gave up his brilliant university studies. In Miami, he works for a company that empties and cleans houses abandoned by people ruined by the crisis. His only consolation he finds in literature. It is thanks to The Great Gatsby that he meets Pilar, a young student of Cuban origin. Their love could be simple if Pilar were not underage and adorned with a threatening big sister. This is how Miles ends up in New York, in the dilapidated neighborhood of Sunset Park, in an old dilapidated house transformed into a squat by Bing Nathan, an old anarchist friend. In the midst of these children lost in Brooklyn, Miles is champing at the bit and waits for Pilar to reach the age of majority and come join him in New York. He said nothing about his life to the young woman...

Sunset Park is “the novel of fear,” wrote Bruno Corty. “Fear of growing up, fear of evolving in a merciless world, fear of one's sexuality, which is not always assumed or assured. Paul Auster notes that the American dream is nothing more than a hollow dream, that there is almost nothing left to cling to.

It is not a novel but an essay. His latest, published last year in France. Paul Auster asks: Why is America the most violent country in the Western world? In this book, which features black and white photos of Spencer Ostrander, son-in-law of Paul Auster, the author combines his personal history with that of the United States.

“On January 23, 1919, two months after the end of the First World War, (...) my grandmother shot my grandfather. (...) My father was 6 and a half years old, and my uncle, the one who held the candle and witnessed the murder, was 9." This death, says Paul Auster, is one of the crucial points of his book, did not only have one victim, his grandfather, but also his descendants: "When we talk about shootings in this country, we focus on the dead, but we rarely take into account the injured, those who survived the bullets and continue to live, often with permanent, devastating injuries..."

Auster discusses the crucial issue of the Second Amendment to the Constitution which states: “A well organized militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” » Journalist Bruno Corty analyzes: “It clearly shows that it is almost impossible to delete this amendment. Not only because the arms lobby, including the famous National Rifle Association of America, the main group defending the right to bear arms created in 1871, is too powerful. But because it’s simply too late! He points out that there are currently 393 million firearms in circulation in the United States, “more than one gun for every man, woman and child in this country.” Every year, 40,000 Americans die from gunshot wounds, an average of more than 100 every day.”

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