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Moon Palace
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1001 book reviews > Moon Palace by Paul Auster

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Chinook | 282 comments 4 stars

I like Auster. I see he’s often called pretentious and I agree, but I also really enjoy that about his writing. This set of stories about three men and the ridiculous but interesting way they all interrelate and repeat patterns kept me interested the entire time. Somehow I’d expected more of a classic trip across America and while there is plenty of going west that happens, it’s not that at all - and I far preferred this odd story.

That said, I feel like a lot of the symbolism and patterns went nowhere. All those recurrences of the moon and I’m not sure anything really came if it. Also with all the names that referred to historical figures - it didn’t come to much. I also thought for the first half of the story that baseball was going to be a recurring theme but that seems to stop about halfway.

The female characters are just ridiculously one dimensional. They seem to exist only to care for the men in the story. Kitty’s interest in MS makes zero sense to me and I don’t buy her emotional response to the incident that ends their relationship either. You don’t learn enough about her to make any sense of her deciding to devote all this time to tracking down this weird guy she met once. Mrs Hume also read as just a parody of a devoted caregiver. Auster gets that women don’t live just to take care of broken men, right?

Ignoring that, which is probably my biggest criticism of the book, it was enjoyable and interesting.

Valerie Brown | 645 comments Read March 2020

This is the first book by Auster I’ve read; and what an introduction! I loved it, and barely could put it down. On the surface it is straight ahead story telling. However, there are many layers of meaning within the story/stories. The main characters are all longing for something – to belong, to be loved, to know themselves, to find themselves or reinvent themselves, happiness. Each in their own way are living their (immediate) truth even if it is borne of bad decisions or delusion. I found the first person perspective to be very effective and well done. 5*

Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4 stars

The life of Marco Stanley Fogg as told my him. He is orphaned as a young boy and sent to live with his uncle Victor. While Marco is in college, his uncle dies, leaving behind a lot of debt. Marco attempts to pay off this debt by selling off his uncle's books - after he reads them, of course. He undergoes a lot of extremes in his life over the years. The story is packed with symbolism and double meaning.

The book is very engaging and Marco is a very interesting character. I do wish, as Chinook said, the female characters were more dimensional.

Amanda Dawn | 1238 comments Auster is hit and miss for me: see the comment about pretentiousness from Chinook above. Sometimes it works in favor of the narrative, sometimes it misses. This one was more of a middle ground book for me.

The cyclical nature of Marco's family lineage and all of the mixed connections were interesting, but it did cross the contrived line into too much pretentiousness sometimes. I found Barber's story (both his life and his book) interesting, and I found Effing's story captivating at times as well.

But, I didn't find Marco to be a particularly compelling protagonist, and I agree with above comments that the female characters in this book are quite 1 dimensional. I gave it 3 stars.

message 5: by Rosemary (last edited Oct 17, 2022 12:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemary | 186 comments I thought Marco Stanley Fogg was a typical Auster character, the boy with the wacky childhood and tormented family history. His father is unknown, his mother was hit by a bus, the itinerant musician uncle who took care of him through later childhood soon dropped dead too. After almost checking out on life, Fogg starts working for an old man who tells him his own wacky life story. Then it all ties up at the end.

I enjoyed this, as I have enjoyed everything I've read by Auster, although there were parts I found problematic (especially the relationship with Kitty Wu, both as a woman and as a person of Chinese descent). The part I liked best was the old man's story.

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