Friday, November 6, 2009

Book Review: "Invisible" by Paul Auster

Although I try to read a lot of different books by different authors, I certainly have a group of favorites. If I see a new book by one of these writers (if I haven't been tracking them on Amazon), I will immediately by it when I see it. Paul Auster is one of those. The minute I saw his new book, Invisible, I nearly leapt on it (I'm crazy like that) and, of course, bought it.

Invisible is a well-written, intriguing and odd book. It starts in 1967 at Columbia University. Adam Walker is a college student dreaming of life as a poet when he encounters Rudolf Born and his girlfriend, Margot, at a party. Rudolf and Margot immediately intrigue young Adam with their worldliness, and the couple becomes somewhat intrigued by him as well. What happens shortly thereafter is a shocking act of violence that has ramifications for the rest of the book.

And that's where everything gets a little bit hinky. The book is divided into four sections. The first is narrated by Adam himself, the second and third sections are narrated by a college friend of Adam's (through Adam's words) and the fourth is narrated by another character and almost feels tacked on. There are a lot of big issues in this book--murder, incest, voyeurism, emotional anguish--yet not a lot of it resonates. I loved the story Auster was telling even as I felt uncomfortable reading pieces of it, but ultimately I was left somewhat unfulfilled. I guess I'll hope his next one has a bit more for me.

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