Man in the Dark

by Paul Auster | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9780571240920 Global Overview for this book
Registered by lakelady2282 of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on 1/10/2009
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14 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by lakelady2282 from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, January 10, 2009
"Seventy-two-year-old August Brill is recovering from a car accident in his daughter’s house in Vermont. When sleep refuses to come, he lies in bed and tells himself stories, struggling to push back thoughts about things he would prefer to forget—his wife’s recent death and the horrific murder of his granddaughter’s boyfriend, Titus. The retired book critic imagines a parallel world in which America is not at war with Iraq but with itself. In this other America the twin towers did not fall and the 2000 election results led to secession, as state after state pulled away from the union and a bloody civil war ensued. As the night progresses, Brill’s story grows increasingly intense, and what he is so desperately trying to avoid insists on being told. Joined in the early hours by his granddaughter, he gradually opens up to her and recounts the story of his marriage. After she falls asleep, he at last finds the courage to revisit the trauma of Titus’s death."

From the start I knew this book was much better than Travels from the Scriptorium. It wasn't until I finished the book that I realised it was Auster's stab at (and attempt to understand) the sometimes horrific world we live in. With further thought I realised that it actually (to my mind anyway) surpasses Ian McEwan's literary attempt at the same thing with his novel Saturday. Whilst the last few pages of that novel seemed to ramble on with no real emotional impact on this reader, Auster's short paragraph on pages 176/177 hit home.

In the middle of reading this novel I did wonder where the hell Auster was going, particular when I reached the family stories, but with the final ten pages or so I knew and I do applaud what he has achieved.
I would love comments from other readers so am offering an international bookring for this book, particuarly as there are only two other copies registered. PM me to join.

Participants:
okarih - UK - read
sintra - Germany - read
ruzena - Finland - read
sudokugirl - Bosnia-Herzegovina - read
mrbaggins1 - South Africa - read
jubby - NSW - read
dolphin-au - NSW - read
sujie - NSW - read
livrecache - Vic - read
leeny37 - Vic the book is here!
crimson-tide - WA
davemurray101 - NSW

Journal Entry 2 by lakelady2282 from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, January 10, 2009
Off on a short trip to visit Cat.

Journal Entry 3 by cat207 from Gladstone, Queensland Australia on Saturday, January 10, 2009
Thanks Deb. X

Journal Entry 4 by cat207 from Gladstone, Queensland Australia on Sunday, January 25, 2009
He does do a great job. So many different stories all brought together in one.

Again, thanks Deb for introducing me to this excellent author. X

Do you want this back or should I send it on?


Journal Entry 5 by lakelady2282 from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, January 31, 2009
The book is back with me again. Thanks Cat. Just chasing a few more bcers for the list.

Journal Entry 6 by lakelady2282 at Bookring in by mail, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (2/3/2009 UTC) at Bookring in by mail, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases

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off to the UK

Journal Entry 7 by okarih from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Wow, less than a week and it's arrived in the UK already all the way from Australia! Thank you lakelady2282! I've been watching the awful news of the bushfires on TV - I hope you, your family and friends are safe.

Journal Entry 8 by okarih from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, February 21, 2009
What an excellent book! I enjoyed the contrast between August’s reality and the surreal story that he tells himself. Towards the end the distinction between the two starts to blur and I thought I was prepared for what happens on pages 175/176 but I was still shocked – I guess you can never really be prepared for events like that.

I have sintra's address but on her request I'm waiting until the end of next week to post this book on.

Released 10 yrs ago (2/27/2009 UTC) at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

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Sent to sintra today.

Journal Entry 10 by sintra from Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Friday, March 06, 2009
The book arrived today and I've already started reading it. Thanks a lot!

Journal Entry 11 by sintra from Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Saturday, March 14, 2009
This is definitely one of my favourite "Austers" so far. I thought it was excellent, especially the different reality August Brill creates in his sleepless nights.

Thanks or sharing this great book with us, lakelady! It will continue its journey next week.

Journal Entry 12 by wingruzenawing on Monday, March 23, 2009
The book is here. Thank you!

Journal Entry 13 by wingruzenawing on Sunday, April 05, 2009
First published in 2008. Faber and Faber paperback 2008. 180 pages.

Excellent storytelling – as Austers are. This reminded me of The Brooklyn Follies: the protagonist is an elderly man who at last is catching "the meaning of life"; the main story is enriched with stories inside each other; the theme is brightly humane; the text is both entertaining and thought-provoking. In addition, Man in the Dark presents a fantasy about parallel worlds that ends in a brilliant allegory. I loved this book. Thank you, lakelady, for peeking at my wishlist which was the way I got the opportunity to read it.

-ruzena

Travelling to sudokugirl as soon as I got the address. EDIT. Sent April 09.

Journal Entry 14 by sudokugirl from Sarajevo, Sarajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday, April 11, 2009
Arrived safely this morning. Looking forward to reading this, it's been on my wishlist for months.

Journal Entry 15 by sudokugirl from Sarajevo, Sarajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday, April 17, 2009
Another excellent one from Auster. Thank you for sharing,lakelady.

I have mrbaggins1's address and will send the book their way tomorrow.

Journal Entry 16 by sudokugirl at sent by mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (4/21/2009 UTC) at sent by mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Sent to mrbaggins1.

Journal Entry 17 by mrbaggins1 from Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa on Thursday, May 07, 2009
Received through the post today - I've got two in front of this one but shoul be able to get ot out by mid-June latest. Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 18 by mrbaggins1 from Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa on Thursday, May 21, 2009
Not the best of the Auster books I've read, more a novella than a proper novel imo. He is an excellent author and what Auster is conveying in the book is the fact that to think ones actions really affects fate is an exercise in futility. What's done is done and nothing can change the past.

Thanks for sharing. PM'd the next on the list.

Journal Entry 19 by mrbaggins1 at Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa on Saturday, May 23, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (5/23/2009 UTC) at Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa

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Bookray posted to jubby in NSW OZ (next on the list) today

Journal Entry 20 by jubby from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Received in the post today.

Thank you.

Journal Entry 21 by jubby at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, July 20, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (7/20/2009 UTC) at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Posted to Dolphin-Au, as promised.

Comments to follow.

Journal Entry 22 by dolphin-au from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Received today, thanks Jubby. Will read asap.

Journal Entry 23 by dolphin-au from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I would rank this book as one of my top reads for this year. The story is fairly simple, though intriguing, but the emotional power is almost palpable throughout the book, until its culmination in the last pages.
I've only discovered Paul Auster very recently, I read his New York trilogy earlier this month, and am looking forward to read his other books.
I like the way he plays with the expectations of his readers. I also loved the way he discussed the old classic movies when August watches these with his granddaughter.
Thanks lakelady for organising this ring. I'll send it on as soon as I receive the address of the next participant.

Journal Entry 24 by dolphin-au at Sent to the Next BCer, Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, August 02, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (8/2/2009 UTC) at Sent to the Next BCer, Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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sent to Sujie

Journal Entry 25 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Arrived safely yesterday, thanks, but thunderstorms here prevented use of computer. (Some nice rain following - we are really dry here.)
I loved "Saturday" lakelady so you've got the bristles rising already! Have two other ring books but will get to this next week.

Journal Entry 26 by Sujie from Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, August 29, 2009
I think I will have to read a couple more of Auster's works before I can really get a grip on his voice. I've read "Oracle Night" and now this and it seems a bit like Ground-hog Day, as if I am seeing the same formula with different characters. My main criticism is that I enjoy and identify with the characters in the other-world sequences and find the narrator's character and those of his family pale by comparison. The death of Titus thus didn't affect me as much as I think it should have - he was more of a metaphor than a real character. My other problem is that I keep thinking this is very clever writing and being more interested in the ideas and structure than the actual story (is this the inevitable outcome of reading a post-modernist?). I like to be totally immersed in a story and it didn't really happen. It did with "Saturday", lakelady! However, after all that, I do want to read more of Auster.
Thanks for the ring, lakelady, and PMing livrecache now...

Journal Entry 27 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Apologies for the delay in journalling. I've had this book a few days now, and as I have no other bookrings at the moment, I look forward to reading it soon.

Journal Entry 28 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Monday, September 21, 2009
I've just finished this book. It's only the second book of Paul Auster's that I've read. The first was The Book of Illusions which didn't totally grab me. This one did. I particularly like the alternative world scenario he created as a way to deal with insomnia, and to avoid thinking about what he really didn't want to think about, which was truly shocking, and I didn't see coming. I need to think further about this book. It will stay with me a long time, I think.

(Someone else mentioned Saturday (a comparison which had occurred to me too), and I agree that Auster handles post-2001 in a better way).

Journal Entry 29 by livrecache at Melbourne, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, September 24, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (9/24/2009 UTC) at Melbourne, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases

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On its way to another bookcrosser. I hope you enjoy it.

Journal Entry 30 by leeny37 from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Sunday, September 27, 2009
I received the book today, thanks! :)

Journal Entry 31 by leeny37 from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, October 13, 2009
What an intriguing and compelling read. I have never read any of Auster's work before so I wasn't sure what to expect. Despite the brevity of the novel, I think it makes a forceful impact on the reader and particularly relevant to the times that we live in currently. The alternate reality that is presented in the book - a story within a story - is original and fascinating but has an unexpected connection to the real world. The tale of Owen Brick serves as a prelude to the shocking reality for the protagonist and his family that Auster reveals at the end. Auster doesn't linger on the melodrama but this slim novel still manages to pack an emotional wallop in spite of its subtleties. This is one that will stay with me for a while.

Thanks lakelady2282 for sharing this book. I'm currently overseas so I'll post this to the next participant when I'm back in Melbourne next week.

Journal Entry 32 by leeny37 at Forest Hill, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (11/3/2009 UTC) at Forest Hill, Victoria Australia

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Passing on to the next person in line, crimson-tide. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 33 by wingcrimson-tidewing from Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Thursday, November 12, 2009
Has arrived safely, and looking forward to it. Thanks all.

Journal Entry 34 by wingcrimson-tidewing from Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Friday, November 20, 2009
Excellent book!

I found it totally engrossing: great writing, poignant, and lots to think about. I particularly enjoyed the Owen Brick story.

Off to davemurray101 early next week.
Thanks lakelady2282.

Journal Entry 35 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Sunday, November 22, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (11/22/2009 UTC) at Balingup, Western Australia Australia

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Posted to davemurray101 on Monday 23rd November.

Journal Entry 36 by davemurray101 from Lower Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Friday, November 27, 2009
Recieved this one this afternoon. Sounds interesting from the blurb and the conversation I had with Lakelady2282 a few months ago.

Journal Entry 37 by davemurray101 from Lower Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Saturday, November 28, 2009
Just finished this one tonight. Quite a few toughts, the idea of America breaking off politically into left v right is certainly an interesting one. Combining it with the family stories of people in Our world and Auster-civil-war world was also an interesting element. Not sure how this could be made into a film, but you never know it could be done and done well, providing Nicholas Cage is not in it.

Journal Entry 38 by davemurray101 at A Controlled Release, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, January 16, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (1/16/2010 UTC) at A Controlled Release, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases

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returning to lakelady2282

Journal Entry 39 by lakelady2282 from Lake Macquarie, New South Wales Australia on Saturday, January 16, 2010
Back home after a year of travelling. Thank you everyone for participating and I'm glad you enjoyed the book.

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