ISBN: 8433906348
ISBN 13: 9788433906342
By: Paul Auster

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About this book

Todo comienza con un muerto anónimo: en una carretera de Wisconsin, un día de 1990, a un hombre le estalla una bomba en la mano y vuela en mil pedazos. Pero alguien sabe quién era, y con el FBI pisándole los talones, Peter Aaron decide contar su historia, dar su versión de los hechos y del personaje, antes de que la historia y las mitologías oficiales establezcan para siempre sus falsedades o verdades a medias como la verdad. Y así, Peter Aaron escribirá Leviatán, la biografía de Benjamin Sachs, el muerto, también escritor y objetor de conciencia encarcelado durante la guerra de Vietnam, desaparecido desde 1986, autor de una novela de juventud que le convirtió fugazmente en un escritor de culto, acaso un asesino, y angustiado agonista de un dilema contemporáneo: ¿Literatura o compromiso político? ¿Realidad o ficción?

Reader's Thoughts

Noura Tan

It took me a while to figure out what I felt towards to this book or rather a way to articulate it into some sort of coherent review. I should start by saying that Auster changed a lot of my perspectives throughout this book (nah, not revolutionary stuff). Auster delves into these characters so deeply and invests in their habits, attitudes, feelings so much we can't help but forget that it is but a work of fiction but there was so much detail paid to these characters (and what beautiful characters they were, complex souls that breathed). I know, for a fact that I liked this book but as I slowly got deeper and deeper into Auster's world or rather his characters and the philosophy of the characters it slowly dawned on me that I felt a sort of special connection with this book that I couldn't yet explain to myself. I also like books which acknowledge the fact that they are books which made the ending better. I would've rather given this a 4.5 because the plot, albeit being great did not evoke that much emotion out of me. In the book, Auster- or rather Paul is consistently reminding us that there are gaps in his stories or that most of the information he is receiving might be false, exaggerated and I really like that? He isn't trying to mask the fact that this story isn't the most exciting, instead he rather acknowledge the gaps in his knowledge which makes it seem all the more honest and realistic. I've been searching for a book that engulfs narrative with thought and here, Auster has presented me with Leviathan. And then it hit me one night when I was on the phone with Mikhail that this is the kind of book that I would've written (I don't mean the plot). The language, his perspectives, the characters, they were all fixtures of my mind. This is almost exactly the novel I would produce if I was more articulate and had a higher ability to compile my thoughts and generate them into characters. It was this crazy, weird sense of De ja vu like MAN, I KNOW what he's talking about, I don't just understand what this guy's saying, I KNOW what he's saying. Sure, I've enjoyed pieces of fiction before this but no writer has managed to connect the way Auster has had with me and god- that is so AMAZING because I didn't even think that was possible. It feels as if Auster body jacked me and jumped forward in time and wrote a book- that sounds crazy but it feels as if this book was written for me or according to me. I can't say this novel'll make you FEEL but it'll make you think and the things that it makes you realize, the small, seemingly insignificant things… this is way too self-flattering, here I am basically saying that this guy is actually me and I wrote an amazing novel- ahh. I don't know how to make sense of this to anyone else or explain how it makes me feel but I just really enjoyed the characters in this book and how deeply Auster explored them and the widths of human nature and behavior.

Allison C. McCulloch

Boom, boom! Bang, bang! Reminded me a lot of Invisible. But it was a lot different. Halfway through the book I was wishing that he'd stop having the main character's friends do all the research and track their friend's story down. But frankly, by the end, I didn't mind.Solid book. By no means my favorite. But I get choked up in the strangest places. The parts that aren't sad. I'm just moved that's all. I tried to finish it on my birthday, so I could finish it on the same day as Barry, but the book was good and that just didn't happen (I finished it 3 days early).


I mean, it's a Paul Auster novel. You can't go wrong. Bizarre coincidences and mysterious intersections in the lives of literary New Yorkers, many of whom have unusual names.This wasn't, however, Auster's tightest work. Rather than sticking to a single conceit, he just sort of writes all over the place, rambles a bit, and comes off like a guy telling you a story at the bar. Of course, it's still massively entertaining, but it lacks the pyrotechnics of some of his other novels.

Eric Hendrixson

** spoiler alert ** To truly enjoy this book you have to be 1) a New Yorker, 2) an academic, and 3) Paul Auster. That is pretty much what this book is about. I understand that it's post-modern and self-referential, but it is also very self-serving. Worst of all, it was boring. For a book about someone who kills an eco-terrorist with a softball bat and uses the cash found on his body to tour the country blowing up replicas of the Statue of Liberty, after crossing the country to have sex with the dead eco-terrorist's wife, it is amazing how, at the end of the book, I am left with the feeling that nothing has happened at all.


The surprise reading and then finishing the book is that you really never know what you're gonna get. What is neatly set up as a detective crime story in the initial pages starts taking you through a completely different course. The premise is still to find out what happened but the truth is it is about understanding what happened. It is an examination of the human condition clothed under the wolf cover of a simple detective story. And I don't know which one is the more dangerous and hungry or more intriguing. I'm glad I've been introduced to the book and made acquaintance with Mr. Auster.


I've read a lot of Paul Auster's nonfiction and enjoyed it. His fiction is another matter - this book must have some of the worst dialogue ever, and the scenes feel very forced in general. However, this book contains the phrase "The Eden of her buttocks."Really, though, I should say that it is a page-turner. But it's a page turner because the author withholds a lot of information from the reader until near the end of the book. It's not worth reading it to get to the end of the mystery. Very disconnected and rambling by the end. I'd suggest reading his nonfiction: "The Invention of Solitude."

Marion Moffatt

A man blows himself up - accidentally with a homemade bomb. We find that out on page one, in the first sentence. Who is the dead man? What was he doing making bombs? Is this a tale of terrorism? The narrator is a successful author (Peter Aaron) telling us the story of his friend and fellow writer Sachs (the dead man). There's a wealth of themes covered: failure, identity, chance, coincidence, depression and the evasive nature of truth. Many times the narrator Aaron tells us a story of Sachs from two or three different perspectives. Unputdownable pageturner - but not in the way you would expect given that first sentence.Masterful. I have found another favourite author. It feels wonderful. This was perfect.

Bindu Manoj

"Six days ago, a man blew himself up by the side of a road in Wisconsin,"thus starts the gripping tale of Benjamin Sachs. There are books that make you cry, ones that make you smile and sometimes laugh, some make you think and a few that refuse to leave your mind. Then there are those rare ones that leave you with a haunting , disturbing feeling that is beyond any definition. And this is one of those rare ones.As soon as author Paul Aaron catches the news item in The New York Times, he is absolutely certain about the identity of the dead man. It is confirmed once the FBI reaches him after finding a piece of paper with his name and number from the explosion site. Paul denies any knowledge about who the man could be. He knows he is just buying some time, but for him , however small that time is, he has something important to do before the man's identity is out in the open."It's not that I want to defend what he did, but since he is no longer in a position to defend himself, the least I can do is explain who he was and give the true story of how he happened to be on that road in northern Wisconsin."What follows is a brilliant narration of Paul's friendship with Sachs. From the moment they meet in a deserted bar, buying drinks for each other till both of them run out of money, there is an instant bond between the two writers. While Aaron is at the beginning of his literary career, Sachs already has a published novel to his credit, one that he wrote while in prison. He is also a well known author of regular articles in varied publications. The book takes you through the lives of both of them and their families. As Paul's life and career becomes stable, we find Sachs' life getting more and more troubled. He starts questioning his existence, he feels guilty about his wife's love for him, in fact he even feels guilty about being alive. This leads him to an attempt on his own life. And this proves to be a crucial turning point of his life.The three female characters that Auster introduces plays a pivotal role in Sach's life - his wife Fanny of twenty years, the eccentric Maria Turner whom he considers his friend and the seductive Lillian Stern. It is as though they are destined to come into his life and turn his life to a different direction at each juncture till it ends up in pieces on a cold morning by a roadside.To call it a story would be sacrilege. It is the pouring out of a bleeding heart, a futile attempt to make some sense out of the hopelessness that Aaron feels when he thinks of his friend. The more you get engrossed in the life of Benjamin Sachs, the more difficult it is to believe that this is a work of fiction. The characters are deeply etched with all the flaws and weaknesses that a normal or even a slightly abnormal human being could have. Aaron's love for his friend seeps into you as well and you end up feeling as though you know Sachs as much as Aaron did. Some might find the narrative style too descriptive, but I felt that was the real strength of the book. This is one book that will really leave you shaken for some time and even question some of the things that you believe in.Verdict : If you are looking for the normal path a plot would take with a clever play of dialogues, please turn away immediately. But, if you are someone who loves a brilliant piece of narration and characters that are so strongly developed that you end up feeling like someone close to them, this is pure gold.

Roz Ito

** spoiler alert ** This is the Auster novel with the character named Maria who is based on the real-life conceptual artist Sophie Calle. After the book was published, Calle completed a photography project or two in which she "resembled" Maria. Anyway, the character of Maria might be the #1 reason to read this book. Like Calle, Maria puts herself in dangerous, weirdly intimate situations for the pursuit of her particular brand of stalker-art. Actually, I might have that backwards. Like Calle, Maria seems deeply compelled to seek out these risky encounters/almost-encounters with strangers, and it's through the meticulous process of documenting these experiences that the art emerges. It's like she wants to dissolve herself, disappear into the anonymous/intimate encounter in order to experience the extreme rapture or terror of being. Compare this with the ontology of Auster's main character study Benjamin, who increasingly disappears from society in order to make a violent, newsworthy impact on it a la the Unabomber. Maria craves the intimacy of anonymous being, while Benjamin craves the power of influencing the world from an anonymous position (interestingly enough, he was a literary journalist/critic in his former life). So is Auster offering some kind of thesis here on the gendered experience of anonymity in late 20th century America? I don't know. I do know that this novel continues to haunt me years after reading it.

Ted Van Hyning

This is a really good novel - I credit it for introducing me to a whole new world of modern fiction. It was a while ago that I read it for the first time, I think it's time to re-visit. I like Auster's stuff from this era more than I like the more recent stuff.

Stefan Anders

This is a book I like to reread. I've read numerous Auster books, and this one has one of the best narrative drives where I get caught up in the world he creates and actually come to believe it exists.


Elegant Examination Of One Character's Descent Into MadnessNoted Brooklyn, New York-based novelist Paul Auster is in fine form in his novel "Leviathan", which can be regarded as an interesting, highly literate, example of crime fiction which ought to resonate with anyone interested in seeing a character's descent into madness. In this early 1990s novel, Auster has cast himself as a fictional doppelganger, the novelist Peter Aaron, who witnesses the gradual descent into madness by his best friend - and fellow writer - Benjamin Sachs. Aaron sees much in Sachs' complex personality which he - and so via his comments the reader too - that he found admirable, and quite enviable, ranging from Sach's own brilliant intelligence to having a marriage to a most beautiful woman that appeared to be a match made in heaven. Auster uses his elegant gifts for tight plotting, memorable characters and terse, yet lyrical, prose in an engrossing exploration of both Sachs' and Aaron's minds. This terse, rather quirky, novel may seem odd at first to a reader accustomed with a more traditional crime thriller, but there are ample rewards in store that awaits anyone interested in reading Auster's work. (Reposted from my 2007 Amazon review.)

Çavlan Erdost

Benjamin Sachs, bir zamanların gelecek vaat eden yazarı, kendi hazırladığı bir bombayı yerleştirirken yanlışlıkla kendisini de havaya uçurur. Roman, Peter Aaron’ın ağzından yazılmıştır ve Sachs, onun arkadaşıdır. Görüşmeyeli yıllar geçmiş olsa da, Sachs’in böyle bir sona nasıl geldiğini anlatmayı görev edinir Aaron. Sachs bir zamanlar Leviathan isimli yarım kalmış bir romanın üzerinde çalışmakta olduğu için de, Aaron (ve Auster) kitaplarına aynı ismi verirler. Leviathan’ın sözlük anlamı devasa, çok büyük. Aynı zamanda da Tevrat’ta geçen deniz canavarının adı.Aaron, Sachs’le ilk karşılaşmalarından başlayarak, hayatlarına giren ve ufak nüanslarla yaşamlarının seyrini değiştiren arkadaşları ve sevgilileri de içinde olmak üzere birlikte (ve ayrı) geçen hayatlarını anlatmaya koyulur. FBI ajanları ölen kişinin kimliğini Sachs olarak tespit etmeden önce kitabını bitirip, Sachs ve bombalarının içyüzü hakkında insanları aydınlatma amacındadır.Sachs’ın sorunu: kendimizi nasıl tanımlayabilir ve aynı anda bizi biçimlendiren çevreyle bir anlaşmaya varabiliriz? Auster’ın dünyasında, kişinin kendisi ile dış dünyanın ayrımı hiçbir zaman kolay olmuyor. Karakterleri dış koşullardan etkilenerek biçimleniyor ve kimlikleri her zaman bir anda değiştirilebilir bir nitelikte oluyor. Romandaki anlatıcı ve en istikrarlı karakter olan Aaron bile, bu sorunlardan kaçamıyor. Aaron ve Sachs’in dostluğu, çelişkilerden ve ikilemlerden doğan bir ilişki, her biri sürekli olarak diğerinin en iyi niteliklerini kazanma gayretinde. Romanın bir yerinde, Sachs uzaktayken, karısıyla ilişkiye girerek Aaron bir anlamda onun yerini alıyor; bir başka yerinde, Sachs Aaron’ın yazar kimliğini çalarak onun yerine kitap imzalıyor, değişik kentlerde imza günleri düzenliyor.Leviathan, Auster’ın romanlarında alıştığımız temaları işliyor: izolasyon, bir kimliği bırakıp yeni baştan başlama arzusu, insanlar arasındaki ilişkilerin karmaşıklığı, hayattaki ironik kesişme ve rastlantılar. Romanın başında anlamsız gözüken olaylar hikayenin sonuna dek süren önemli olgulara dönüşüyor. Auster’ın diğer kitaplarında da yinelenen temalardan bir diğeri: hem Sachs, hem de Aaron yazar. Aaron mesleğinden memnun, ama Sachs’in bir noktada gözleri açılıyor ve amaçlarına ulaşmak için doğrudan eyleme geçmeye karar veriyor. Auster’ın diğer çalışmalarından bir benzer nokta daha: Yazar, Amerika’nın gidişatından memnun değil; Özgürlük Anıtı, pek çok Amerikalının, heykelin arkasındaki prensipleri izlemek için hiçbir çaba sarf etmeden büyük bir anlam yüklediği bir sembol olarak kitap boyunca sayısız kez geçiyor. İlerleyen bölümlerde, Sachs için Amerikayı uyandırıp hatalarını göstermenin tek yolu, halka açık alanlardaki Özgürlük Anıtının replikalarını havaya uçurmak haline geliyor.Leviathan pek çok standarda göre çok iyi bir kitap ve bence beklentileri de karşılıyor, ama Auster’ın en iyi kitabı değil. Yine de çok keyifli bir okuma, Sachs’ın öyküsü kitap bittikten sonra uzunca bir süre sizinle kalıyor.Romandaki karakterlerin büyük bölümü, her Paul Aster romanında olduğu gibi gibi en ufak detaya kadar düşünülmüş, çarpıcı karakterler. Bana göre özellikle Maria, bahsedilmeyi hak ediyor: Maria, belirli bir tanıma oturtulamayacak bir sanatçı, pek çok insana göre ‘garip’ diye adlandırılabilecek projelerin peşinde, örneğin bazen haftanın her günü değişik renkte yiyecekler yiyor, pazartesi yeşil günü: salatalık, brokoli, armut yiyor sadece o gün, veya öylesine bir tanışıklığı olan, çok yakışıklı ama giyimi berbat bir adamın gardrobunu adam etmeyi kendine iş ediniyor ve her sene ona imzasız bir armağan gönderiyor. Çocukluğundan bu yana aldığı doğum günü hediyelerinin tümünü saklıyor, hepsini de kronolojik olarak sıralanmış ve ambalajlarından çıkarılmamış olarak raflarda sergiliyor. Üniversiteyi yarım bırakıp Amerika turuna çıkıyor ve kendine bir pikap alıp, her eyalette ikişer hafta kalarak bu turu iki senede tamamlıyor. Son derece anlamsız ve keyfi gözüken bu projede, Maria’nın koyduğu tek kural her eyalette ondört gün geçirmek, bunun dışında dilediğini yapmakta özgür. Bir yerden ötekine gitmeye yetecek parayı da garsonluk gibi işlerde çalışarak kazanıyor. Yolda gördüğü yabancıları, yaşamlarını sadece gözlem yoluyla anlayabilmek amacıyla takip ediyor ve fotoğraflarını çekiyor. Bir gün yolda, içinde sahibinin isminin yazılı olmadığı bir telefon defteri buluyor ve sahibinin kişiliğini çözebilmeyi amaç edinmiş olarak defterdeki insanlarla tesadüfi karşılaşmalar düzenleyip onlarla üstü kapalı görüşmeler yapmaya karar veriyor. -Bu projenin nasıl gittiğini merak ettiyseniz kitabı okumanız gerekecek :)


این سومین کتابی ِ که از پل استر می خوندم... خیلی عالی شروع شده و با توجه به تجربه‌ای که از خوندن آثار پل استر بدست آوردم کافیه طاقت آورد تا صفحات 70 اینا و بعد از اون به هیچ وجه نمیشه دیگه کتاب رو بست. به حدی مهیج میشه که گذر زمان رو نمیشه اصلا متوجه شد... به نظرم پل استر خیلی عالی تونسته تمام شخصیت‌ها رو بهم ربط بده و خیلی زیبا موقعیت‌های پیچیده رو توصیف کرده...

Sabra Embury

I barely made it to chapter three of Leviathan, and by the time I got there I wanted to throw the book on the ground. The character development lacked luster, the dialogue was stupid, and the narrative was outright boring, aside from its style seeming contrived and rudimentary. I'll admit that this is my first real glimpse into Auster's writing. And I also just finished Jerzy Kosiński's the Painted Bird, which was so beautiful, rich and complex, I would feel bad for any after book having to follow its shadow, since Kosiński's "Paint" makes Leviathan look like a used yellow crayon.But I have to give Auster credit for carving out an apparent niche in postmodernism; through gimmicks that revolve around confusing people with absurd twists and lines like "We starting kissing. Mouths open, tongues thrashing, slobbering onto each others chins, we started kissing like a couple of teenagers in the backseat of a car." When I got to that point, I decided that the book was unreadable. I felt like I'd wasted enough time getting closer to cynical--regarding the doomed consensus of taste in modern American culture. I'm not trying to be violently critical here, or contrary for the sake of being contrary. In fact: I'm going to read the New York Trilogy next. I hear City of Glass is one of his best. But if any essence of Auster's masturbatory rock star jive gets on me, or hell forbid--leaves a stain, I'm sending him the bill for my lobotomy.

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