Kirstie's Reviews > Sunset Park

Sunset Park by Paul Auster
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's review
Aug 28, 2011

liked it
Recommended for: Completist fans of Paul Auster.

I'm a big fan of Paul Auster but I was somewhat disappointed by this one, especially by the ending which seemed implausible but not in a typical Auster way..I mean, this wasn't written with the same postmodern tinges but more with the notion of my generation's sense of floating by with a slightly more meaningful main character trying to overcome a major incident in his life that caused him to separate himself from his family for a period of years.

The strengths of this novel is that it delved into some interesting characters and intricacies of their personalities. (Most of these characters are squatters in their 20s and 30s in Sunset Park, Brooklyn but some are part of the older generation and are mainly writers). It's a portrait of a generation overall, too...our hopes, our goals, our despairing moments too even when we happen to be at a sort of standstill in some ways. There are certainly some interesting things that these characters feel and think and that is something Auster seems to always bring to the table. The major deficit is that it just doesn't live up to his other works overall. The style isn't doing anything new or innovative and the topic isn't altogether adventurous for him. At the end, you just sort of feel like, "That's it? Really?"

A bit of a let down to me, I'm afraid. Much more recommended by him is The Brooklyn Follies or City of Glass.

Memorable Quotes:

pg. 68 "He closes his the darkness behind his lids, he sees himself as a black speck in a world made of snow."

pg. 145 "He remembers Renzo as a young, young writer just out of college, living in a forty-nine-dollar-a-month apartment on the Lower East Side, one of those tenement railroad flats with a tub in the kitchen and six thousand cockroaches holding political conventions in every cupboard..."

pg. 190 "If all the sixty-year-old broads come across as bizarre looking thirty-year-olds, who's going to be left to play the mothers and the grandmothers?"

pg 216 "The human body is strange and flawed and unpredictable. The human body has many secrets, and it does not divulge them to anyone, except those who have learned to wait...the human body can be apprehended but it cannot be comprehended..."

pg. 266-267 "We do not grow stronger as the years advance. The accumulation of sufferings and sorrows weakens our capacity to endure more sufferings and sorrows, and since sufferings and sorrows are inevitable, even a small setback in life can resound with the same force as a major tragedy when we are young."

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