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

Alan Chen

I love Paul Auster and this novel while not as good as some of his other works (New York Trilogy, Moon Palace) is still a gem. The story is by Peter Aaron about his best friend Oliver Sachs. It chronicles how they meet until the day Sachs blew himself up into pieces. The story has many twists of chance that comprises a person's life and it delineates how Sachs goes from writer and husband to a person that will blow up monuments in the name of social causes. In it we learn just as much about the women in each of their lives, their writing careers, and a snapshot of New York in the time period. The main thing I come away with is the richness and complexity of a friendship and how that adds to life.

Neil Fox

Auster is a genius. Wonderfully constructed book that weaves a tale that feels like it's going to be of global significance but ends up being smaller, but no less powerful, a masterstroke. Love him

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.


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.)

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.

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.


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...


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.

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.


my very first paul auster novel, and oh my. while the story is not so spectacular (egg head novelist goes anarcho and underground, to good effect) the dialog, reasoning, flow are just so perfect. but perhaps will be my last paul auster novel too? you'll see.this from pg 41, takling about said egghead's novel"No one can say where a book comes from, least of all the person who writes it. Books are born out of ignorance, and if they go on living after they are written, it's only to the degree that they cannot be understood."

David Sweeney

WOW! WOW! WOW! No wonder Siri married him. I really think serious stalking in Brooklyn is a possibility my next trip to New York. I utterly ADORED this book. Complete satisfaction. It is not a very long book but it is incredibly dense and the narrative moves along at a good clip. This is the fourth Paul Auster I have read this year and none have been the same. BUT BUT I strongly suspect that this may not be for everyone. It is almost review proof because you really can't say much about the plot.What I can tell you is that the book starts with the sentence "Six days ago a man blew himself up in Wisconsin" but what happens after that is not what you expect. Relationships, a thriller, political comment (written 20 years ago and warning of US decay) and a very lovely twist at the end.AND finally I was up at 5am to catch the 7am to Sydney and came back at 10pm but had to update this.I would NOT recommend this as the first Auster, but I'm addicted now.... Dear Paul....,It's no What I Loved but for originality and writing it completely satisfies. (If you insist on complete plot perfection and don't like coincidence then give it a miss.)Sorry- had to fix a couple of typos, most notably NOT the first Auster to cut your teeth on - so far that would be Brooklyn Follies


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."

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).

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.


I can't remember the last time I read a book that was so emotionally draining as Paul Auster's Leviathan. I have been reading it at work for the last week or so, and finally in the home stretch of the last hundred pages today, I started walking around with my head down and my coworkers kept asking if I was okay. That's a feat to behold.Auster's books are some of the most finely crafted works I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Maybe the stories don't always get wrapped up cleanly, or the characters seem motiveless and unlikeable at times, but each sentence is a well-delivered punch. In Leviathan, Auster's narrator talks about his approach to writing fiction, how he painstakingly hammers out each word, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he were reflecting on his own style. Or else he's just really lucky and knows how to put ideas perfectly into amazingly worded sentences that form paragraphs of unparalleled power. In that case, screw him for not having to work hard when the rest of us do.But Leviathan isn't just about writing despite its revolving around two writers. Really, it is about the writers themselves, on a much deeper, human level. It's a story about character and what changes character and how people deal with those changes whether they want to or not. The first two thirds of the book are development of character, and the last third is a revolving door of switch-arounds of those characters that spin them, and their worlds, out of control.That, of course, is the depressing part--seeing the people you've come to love like family (how couldn't you, as much as Auster tells you about them?) lose themselves completely. In terms of literature, it's extremely satisfying, but it is still painful to watch. As much as I loved the book, I hated it in a way, for getting me so emotionally involved without my even noticing, and then dashing all my hopes and dreams as it came to an (unfortunately expectedly) abrupt close. But then, isn't that the mark of an excellent piece of literature? Probably. But did it really have to break my heart?

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