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Sunset Park
by Paul Auster

Overview -

Luminous, passionate, expansive, an emotional tour de force

"Sunset Park" follows the hopes and fears of a cast of unforgettable characters brought together by the mysterious Miles Heller during the dark months of the 2008 economic collapse.  Read more...


 
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More About Sunset Park by Paul Auster
 
 
 
Overview

Luminous, passionate, expansive, an emotional tour de force

"Sunset Park" follows the hopes and fears of a cast of unforgettable characters brought together by the mysterious Miles Heller during the dark months of the 2008 economic collapse.

An enigmatic young man employed as a trash-out worker in southern Florida obsessively photographing thousands of abandoned objects left behind by the evicted families.

A group of young people squatting in an apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The Hospital for Broken Things, which specializes in repairing the artifacts of a vanished world.

William Wyler's 1946 classic "The Best Years of Our Lives."

A celebrated actress preparing to return to Broadway.

An independent publisher desperately trying to save his business and his marriage.

These are just some of the elements Auster magically weaves together in this immensely moving novel about contemporary America and its ghosts. "Sunset Park" is a surprising departure that confirms Paul Auster as one of our greatest living writers.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780805092868
  • ISBN-10: 0805092862
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
  • Publish Date: November 2010
  • Page Count: 309


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2010-07-19
  • Reviewer: Staff

Auster (Invisible) is in excellent form for this foray into the tarnished, conflicted soul of Brooklyn. New York native Miles Heller now cleans out foreclosed south Florida homes, but after falling in love with an underage girl and stirring the wrath of her older sister, he flees to Brooklyn and shacks up with a group of artists squatting in the borough's Sunset Park neighborhood. As Miles arrives at the squat, the narrative broadens to take in the lives of Miles's roommates--among them Bing, "the champion of discontent," and Alice, a starving writer--and the unlikely paths that lead them to their squat. Then there's the matter of Miles's estranged father, Morris, who, in trying to save both his marriage and the independent publishing outfit he runs, may find the opportunity to patch things up with Miles. The fractured narrative takes in an impressive swath of life and history--Vietnam, baseball trivia, the WWII coming-home film The Best Years of Our Lives--and even if a couple of the perspectives feel weak, Auster's newest is a gratifying departure from the postmodern trickery he's known for, one full of crisp turns of phrase and keen insights. (Nov.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Exploring the sacred relics of the mind

Paul Auster, with his characteristically masterful postmodern experimentation, once again proves himself equally adept at character development and emotional depth. His 16th novel, which follows a group of young squatters seeking refuge from the harsh demands on their generation, is both touching and timely—and showcases the unlikely adaptability of a much-pigeonholed writer.

While Auster’s characters have long orbited a Woody Allen-esque New York, where intellectual and financial successes seem completely congruous, the recession looms large in Sunset Park. The action centers on an abandoned house in the titular Brooklyn neighborhood, where four broke 20-somethings have taken up residence. The ringleader, Bing, eschews his bourgeois background to run a fledgling restoration business, which he calls The Hospital of Broken Things. Ellen is a reluctant real estate agent trying to find her legs as an artist, and Alice a nurturing graduate student of pop culture. They are soon joined by Miles Heller, a tortured Brown dropout who has fled his prominent New York family to bide his time in Florida, poignantly cleaning out a bevy of foreclosed homes and falling into an inappropriate love affair—perhaps the least believable part of the story. Yet Miles’ homecoming, and the effect that it has on the Sunset Park house as well as his broken family, is riveting and perfectly rendered.

Thematically, the novel is preoccupied with relics, the physical reminders of emotion—for Miles, the abandoned possessions of hundreds of evicted tenants; for Bing, the beaten-up antiques he has pledged to save; for Ellen, the dangerously erotic images she is finally able to cultivate from the ephemera of her mind and put onto paper; and for Alice, an obsession with a World War II film which she believes captures the simultaneous hope and despair of a generation. And for Miles’ father Morris, a prominent publisher, it is books—perhaps, as Auster so deftly illustrates here, the most sacred relics of all.

 

 
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