Leviathan (Contemporary American Fiction)

by Paul Auster | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0140178139 Global Overview for this book
Registered by ateehee of Siler City, North Carolina USA on 2/1/2003
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6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by ateehee from Siler City, North Carolina USA on Saturday, February 01, 2003
"Six days ago, a man blew himself up by the side of a road in northern Wisconsin..." so begins this book within a book narrated by author Peter Aaron about his friend, Benjamin Sachs. Aaron recounts his meeting with Sachs on a snowy Manhattan day in the 1970's and the tale continues for a decade through marriages, friendships, divorces, births and a near-death experience that changes the lives of everyone involved.

This is Paul Auster's seventh novel. It is complex and unpredictable. I felt like I was physically falling into the lives of the main characters and the unexpected plot developments increased the speed of the descent. A really good book!

Journal Entry 2 by ateehee from Siler City, North Carolina USA on Friday, February 21, 2003
I was told by a member of my book group that this book is out of print. How sad! Such a great book needs to be read. I'm sending this copy to Lucycat in England and she's passing it on to Yokospungeon.

Journal Entry 3 by lucycat from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Saturday, March 01, 2003
Thanks Ateehee! This arrived yesterday, and my TBR is teetering at a dangerous height at the moment, so I've sent it straight on to Ali (yokoSpungeon) in London, who I'm sure will devour it and then pass it back to me...pretty please!
I haven't told her it's on it's way, either, so hopefully it will be a nice surpise on a gloomy Monday morning...:O)
Thanks again for sending this my way, Ateehee, and happy reading mrs!

Journal Entry 4 by YokoSpungeon from Dunboyne, Co. Meath Ireland on Thursday, May 15, 2003
Auster is one of my favourite authors, so I would have been surprised to not enjoy this book. However, it is slightly different to other books I have read by him. The characterisations are more full and interesting than in his other books - normally the entertainment comes from his mastery of plot but this time there is equal intrigue from the individuals and the interaction they engage in as a result of their randomly governed contact with one another. I am sending this back to lucycat from whence it came so that she can read it and release it herself!

Journal Entry 5 by lucycat from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, May 18, 2003
And back to me again!

Looking forward to reading it soon...especially after two such glowing reviews!

Will journal again when I've read it, of course...;O)

Update 22/10/03

By gum, it certainly takes me a while to get to books down in the foothills of my TBR mountain.

Firstly, I must apologise for taking so long to get around to reading this...I'm trying to get around this problem in the future by offering TBR's up as rings while I whittle down the stack a little.

Secondly, this was well worth the wait. This is only the second of Auster's books that I've read, but it's just as absorbing as NYT.

As Ali (YokoSpungeon) says above, this does read as more of a story than the trilogy, with a beginning, middle and end in the more traditional sense, but with the same kind of completely unexpected twists that carry the action off in an entirely new direction.

When I felt a twist suddenly approaching in the story, I had the same kind of shivers that NYT delivered...almost dread at what Auster would reveal next. I find this feeling really difficult to put into words, so I'll have to rely on the fact that Auster-ficionados would probably know what I'm talking about. He's a very exciting writer, not in a kind of pot-boiler, turn-pages-so-fast-you-leave-burn-marks, or even killers-jumping-out-of-showers-left-right-and-centre kind of a way, but he seems to be able to say something seemingly inconsequential in a very small, quiet voice, and yet it can turn all your assumptions about the story on their heads and rock you to your very core. Does that make more sense? Probably not (and I fear I'm babbling now), so suffice to say I loved it.

As is my wont, I'll finish up with a couple of quotes to savour, the second of which is pure vintage Auster:

'All in all, there are some one hundred and thirty scale-model replicas of the Statue of Liberty standing in public places across America. They can be found in city parks, in front of town halls, on the tops of buildings. Unlike the flag, which tends to divide people as much as it brings them together, the statue is a symbol that causes no controversy. If many Americans are proud of their flag, there are many others who feel ashamed of it, and for every person who regards it as a holy object, there is another who would like to spit on it, or burn it, or drag it through the mud. The Statue of Liberty is immune from these conflicts. For the past hundred years, it has transcended politics and ideology, standing at the threshold of our country as an emblem of all that is good within us. It represents hope rather than reality, faith rather than facts, and one would be hard-pressed to find a single person willing to denounce the things it stands for: democracy, freedom, equality under the law. It is the best of what America has to offer the world, and however pained one might be by America's failure to live up to those ideals, the ideals themselves are not in question.'

'There is a point at which a book begins to take over your life, when the world you have imagined becomes more important to you than the real world...'

This'll be headed off to me old mate Tim as soon as my boy's had a quick read, so no doubt it'll finally be back on the road again next week. Enjoy!

Update 5/12/03

Yes, no doubt! Six weeks later than promised, it's finally on the move again. Apologies for the delay!

Journal Entry 6 by SwissToni on Monday, December 15, 2003
Oooh Lucy - with this book you are really spoiling me

Auster is my big discovery for 2003 and I am really, really looking forward to reading this.

Journal Entry 7 by SwissToni on Saturday, April 10, 2004
Let me say before I really get started that I am becoming a *huge* fan of Paul Auster. As Lucy says above, he is the most fantastic technician I have come across in a long time. No word, no matter how small, is insignificant. No word is wasted. This is another fantastic read, but I think I managed to ruin it for myself. It's not a long book, but somehow I contrived to read it in such small chunks at a time, that I think I almost lost the ability to appreciate the book as a whole. I read "The Music of Chance" pretty much all in one sitting, and loved it. I think this book deserved the same sort of treatment, and not a few pages being read at a time with drooping eyelids at midnight on a school night.


I got to the end, and felt like turning back to the first page and starting again. Definitely one that I need to read again.

Mind you - all of the above has only affected my enjoyment of the book in relative terms (relative, that is, to how much I enjoyed 'NY Trilogy' and 'Music of Chance'). It is still a fantastic book. I'm not quite sure how Auster managed to take me from a snowy bar in New York where 2 authors are chewing the cud after a cancelled book reading, to a small town in Wisconsin and an FBI investigation into a series of mysterious bombings... but that's Auster for you. A real joy. It is such a thrill knowing that there are still oodles of Auster's out there that I haven't read yet. Bring 'em on!

Journal Entry 8 by SwissToni at on Friday, May 21, 2004
Release planned for Saturday, May 22, 2004 at Nottingham Meet in Nottingham, England United Kingdom.

Paul Auster is just brilliant, and I'm pleased to say that I discovered him entirely because of bookcrossing. Without this very site, I would have remained totally ignorant of this man's work and wow, would my life be poorer for it.

I'll probably end up buying this at some point, but as a point of principle, I will be releasing this at the Nottingham meet for someone else to enjoy (and thanks again Lucy - an angel as always)

oooh - and I went to New York this week for the first time. All I could think about whilst I was walking around was NY Trilogy... must read it again!

Journal Entry 9 by short-rach from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Saturday, May 22, 2004
THANKS! Been on the lookout for more Paul Auster since reading the NY trilogy...this will be attended to sooner rather than later me thinks!

Journal Entry 10 by short-rach from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 08, 2004
OK so I didn't get to it quite as quickly as I thought I would - don't shoot me!!

This was only my second forray into the world of Paul Auster and he is fast becoming my find of the decade, author-wise. This was every bit as good as I had expected it to be but for reasons it's hard to write down. Auster doesn't write huge dramatic pieces but his work is still full of suspense and plot-twists in a way that you're never sure what will happen next.

His work (certainly this and NYT) is character-driven but rather than long convoluted sentences (like say Stephen King gets into when he writes character-pieces), Auster doesn't waste words, every single syllabol counts and that's where my praise for him goes.

Needless to say I absolutely adored this as I did the NYT and shall have to not only find/read more Auster but locate both this and the NYT and snaffle them away into my PC!

Will bring this to the Nottingham Meet so someone else can share in the magic.

Journal Entry 11 by short-rach at on Thursday, September 23, 2004

Released 16 yrs ago (9/25/2004 UTC) at



Nottingham Meetup, Wetherspoons Pub (Old Market Square), upstairs bar area.

Journal Entry 12 by YowlYY on Saturday, September 25, 2004
Could this book have been left unnoticed by myself? Surely not... so when I read the release note made by Rach, I made a point to "hunt" this book among the others on the big meetup table ;-)
I cannot say when I will manage to read it, as there are a few bookrings and rays stalled here right now, but I know it won't take long... I am a severe case of Auster addition.

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