Friday, 18 May 2012

Friday Fiction 15: The Brooklyn Follies

"I was looking for a quiet place to die, and someone suggested Brooklyn" reads the back cover, introducing you to the narrator, Nathan Glass, who's actually not dying at all, so it's a pretty stupid blurb really...

Instead of dying, he reconnects with his estranged nephew & his eccentric ex-con of a boss, before taking in his runaway great niece and moseying around New York for the greater part of the book. I'm going to be honest, apart from a small amount of drama near the end, pretty much nothing happens for the entirety of the story. In spite of this I did actually enjoy it rather a lot. As with Sunset Park, Auster's writing is prosaic and a delight to read - and for the most part his characters are wonderfully developed & very interesting.

What let the story down for me was the 'backdrop of the controversial 2000 presidential elections' - also mentioned in the blurb, also very unimportant to the story (who's writing these things and have they even read the book?!), and the introduction of a Christian extremist into the story, which essentially just led to a lot of Republican and Christian bashing (not that I would describe myself as pro- either, but it felt pretty unnecessary to the story, and frankly, it got a little ugly). I would've enjoyed it if Rory & Lucy had been more well rounded, believable characters, rather than somewhat tired stereotypes of people in their position, Harry was such a brilliantly crafted specimen that it made them feel even weaker in comparison. 7/10

General consensus seems to be that this is one of Auster's more commercial works, and it divided his fans quite a bit apparently, but it was a decent enough read for me. If this is him sucking, then it makes me pretty excited to read his acclaimed works. Have you read it? How does it compare with his others?

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