Tuesday, June 29, 2010


It was bad enough last week to discover in the bookstore next to McDonald’s on Vitosha Boulevard in Sofia that Faber in London had published the complete works of Paul Auster in a multi-volume hard cover edition as here it sat on the shelf awaiting a buyer.

Later on the plane to New York I began to read the bound galleys of his most recent novel SUNSET PARK (to be published in the US in November). The novel concerns a man who is fixing up foreclosed houses in Florida. By coincidence his publisher is also publishing a non-fiction book about the same subject, EXILES IN EDEN, Life Among the Ruins of Florida’s Great Recession by Paul Reyes.

Of course anyone who could seriously consider Florida an Eden is probably beyond help… but by now it is all old news and there have been the long human interest stories in the quality newspapers… but book publishers seem to have an addiction to news that would not now be fit wrapper for dead fish…

But, Auster: SUNSET PARK. I will type out why exactly why I did not continue reading the novel that wants the reader to be interested in this guy Miles who has taken up with some jail-bait:

“The first time they went to bed together, she assured him she was no longer a virgin. He took her at her word, but when the moment came for him to enter her, she pushed him away a told him he mustn’t do that. The mommy hole was off-limits, she said, absolutely forbidden to male members. Tongues and fingers were acceptable but not members, under no condition at any time, not ever… Did he understand? Yes, he understood but war was the alternative? The funny hole, she said. Angela had told him all about it and he had to admit that from a strictly biological and medical standpoint it was the one truly safe form of birth control in the world. For six months now he has abided by her wishes, restricting all member penetration to her funny hole and putting nothing more than tongue and fingers in her mommy hole.”

But why stop? Isn't it obvious?: the deadness of the ear, the condescending vulgarity, the knowing nudge to the shoulder: I know these people are… and then the fact that most likely no one at the publisher even read the manuscript since they were just publishing another Auster book, another book that will be reviewed… and no matter the quality of the reviews SUNSET PARK is another bit of product to keep alive the brand, keep the brand in the marketplace, occupy the shelf space, provide an excuse to re-republish in paper some earlier equally forgettable books .

SUNSET PARK is a squeamish bit of rubbish from Paul Auster who is writing an old guy’s book about a lecher who wants to fuck a teenager who really only wants to get fucked in the ass…

AUSTER wrote one good book, THE INVENTION OF SOLITUDE and should have stopped right there in 1982. Nothing has been added to that book by all these subsequent books. He knows this...