No he llegado a la mitad de esta historia, la de un muchacho que vive en Nueva York allá por 1969 y que cuenta sus aventuras-desventuras con un detalle intimista que todavía no llega a calarme demasiado. Será que no siento demasiada simpatía con el personaje ni con su manera de pensar, una suerte de hippismo que lo arroja casi al suicidio, con pocas esperanzas de éxito a no ser por las externalidades. Demasiadas autorreferencias a la cultura pop-hippie de esa época que me son ajenas en experiencia y espíritu. No puede decirse que esté disfrutando el libro, pero como todo, genera cierta intriga (aunque el autor prácticamente revela todo en la primera página). Además, ni qué decir que detesto el título, y más todavía a partir de saber lo que en realidad significa. Tal vez más adelante me depare alguna sorpresa, pero veremos. El juicio viene siendo demasiado malo hasta el momento. Vamos a darle el beneficio de la duda.Muy bien, habiendo terminado el libro, me dejó muchas buenas impresiones, sobre todo en lo de los detalles de los pensamientos del protagonista, bastante rebuscados por cierto. Puntos flojos: demasiadas autorreferencias a la cultura nortemericana de fines de los años 60, que en lo personal me resbala. No me siento atraído por eso (y seguramente mucha de las referencias que salen en la novela se me escaparon). Otro punto flojo: lo odié desde el principio del libro, lo odié cuando me enteré de lo que era, y cuando terminé el libro, lo sigo odiando. Estoy muy odiador de títulos últimamente...Carlos Bennett
Voy a hacer un ejercicio que casi siempre evito: escribir un review de uno de mis libros favoritos. “El Palacio de la Luna” puede ser, para alguna gente, un libro iniciático. Leerlo a los veinte años puede ser una experiencia parecida a leer “El Guardián en el Centeno” a los quince. Lamentablemente yo leí a Salinger muy tarde; a Auster lo leí exactamente a los 20. He leído al menos 4 veces “El Palacio de la Luna” desde entonces (aunque la última vez fue hace ya un buen tiempo), y en todo ese tiempo es probablemente él único libro que nunca ha salido de la lista de mis 3 favoritos. En la historia.Y sin embargo. Es un libro imperfecto, eso salta a la vista. Algunas cosas no son defendibles: Kittie-wu tiene el doble defecto de ser una clásica Manic Pixie Girl y al mismo tiempo ser horrorosamente orientalista - la infame frase de “Here comes the Dragon Lady” ha sido caricaturizada - con razón- en más de una crítica. No solo es racista y anti-feminista al mismo tiempo, sino que algo aún peor: simplemente está muy mal escrito. Las acciones del personaje principal son absurdas - lo que en sí mismo no es un problema - pero en muchas ocasiones Auster pareciera querer insinuar que hay una trascendencia enorme e inexplicada detrás de todo - cuando claramente no la hay. Estoy más que seguro, apostaría mi mano derecha a que en su proceso creativo Auster a veces pega palabras o imágenes que le parecen sugerentes, sin tener ninguna idea de que es exactamente lo que quiere sugerir. Por eso a los lectores menos ingenuos les irrita Auster: les parece presuntuoso, les parece un mistificador. Y probablemente es cierto. Y creo que ahí está la raíz del hecho de que Auster por un buen tiempo haya sido inmensamente popular en Europa y en America Latina y casi un desconocido en EE.UU. Auster defiende además su utilización de las coincidencias absurdas dentro de la trama como otro elemento estético, incluso argumentando elementos biográficos (cuenta en su biografía algunas coincidencias muy raras que le han pasado en la vida, pero eso es otro tema). Puede ser cierto que sea parte de su propuesta estética, pero eso no quita que es una propuesta que facilita las cosas. Utiliza las coincidencias como un Deux-ex-Machina: cuando la historia pareciera que no va a ninguna parte, he ahí otra coincidencia. Demasiado fácil. Recientemente un detractor me llamó la atención sobre un elemento crítico más importante: la cosmovisión que presenta Auster, su visión postmodernista, ejemplificada principalmente en este personaje principal que es principalmente un espectador al que le pasan cosas. Todo el mundo pareciera girar alrededor de M.S. Fogg. Para escribir algo así probablemente la dosis de individualismo tiene que ser alta, bordeando el solipsismo. No lo sé.Otros elementos son más argumentables: las larguísimas historias-dentro-de-la-historia se han vuelto una característica propia de Auster; a muchos les irritan estos desvíos de la trama principal. Yo creo que son uno de los mayores aportes de Auster: doblar los géneros y no respetar las convenciones de la novela si el libro lo pide (además, en general las historias son muy buenas). Y sin embargo. Sigo pensando que es uno de mis libros favoritos, no tengo ninguna duda de eso. Siempre me ha gustado la crítica literaria a posteriori: tu sabes adentro si te gusta un libro o no. El proceso crítico puede después ayudarte a iluminar algunas áreas: porqué te gusta este libro, porque encuentras belleza en él, porque te apasiona leer libros así. Cuando trató de describir que es lo que realmente me gustó, puedo llegar fácilmente a varios elementos: Auster es un escritor eminentemente visual, trabaja con imágenes. Lo comentaba en mi review de La Musica del Azar: al final del libro, años después incluso, uno todavía se acuerda de la imagen de Pozzi caminando sobre un muro construído en un prado, con los restos de un castillo destruido. En “El Palacio de la Luna” hay cientos de imagenes así. M.S. Fogg viviendo solo en Central Park, o en un apartamento amueblado solo con cajas selladas llenas de libros, o caminando por el desierto. Es un libro absolutamente épico, y me gusta que alguien se atreva con algo así. Es claramente un intento de Gran Novela Americana. Algunos odian eso, pero yo creo que es lo que necesitamos. Necesitamos libros como “2666”, como “Pastoral Americana”, como “Little, big”. Todos distintos y ambiciosos a su manera. Alguien por ahí debe estar revolcándose en su tumba de que haya puesto estos nombres juntos. Pero nadie puede negar que EPdlL es un libro ambicioso, al menos en intención. Auster además es un maestro absoluto en lograr poetizar objetos comunes sacándolos de contexto (como hace con las cajas de cartón llenas de libros en EPdlL, o con las guías telefónicas en Oracle Night). Y es un narrador increíblemente dotado; esa es lejos su mayor virtud. Y en eso se parece a Salinger.Pero al final del día, cuando un libro realmente te mueve no es por el juego de sopesar lo malo y lo bueno y ver que es lo que ganó al final. Para mi el punto es este: si hay algo que no puede imitarse o falsearse, es la pasión. Hay un sentimiento extraño, que he tenido con pocos libros: a todos nos ha pasado leer algo muy rápido, sin poder soltarlo. Es una buena sensación. Pero pocas veces me ha pasado leer sintiendo que el autor estaba escribiendo rápido lo que yo en esos momentos leía, sin poder parar. Me pasó con Salinger. Y me pasó con Auster. 5 estrellas.R.
This was a Friends of the Library book purchase - only a dime; and I'm writing in it. Underlining sentences, circling words. Auster has the authorial voice I need to hear right now - a zen melancholy.Paul Shirley
I made a mistake with this book - not a theoretical mistake, a concrete mistake. After finishing a third of Moon Palace, I accidentally left it in my brother's apartment (in New York, fittingly). The mistake, though, turned out to be a blessing because, when I finished MP, I had to go back and skim that first third in order to figure out what I'd forgotten.A lot, as it turns out. Auster pretty well sets out what he's going to do in the beginning - he's going to tell the story of how his protagonist learned about life. And he does just that, quite effectively. Most important, though, was Auster's style. I was recommended to this book after talking about a Murakami book (I don't know which one); I see the resemblance now. There's less waffling between the real world and the nether, but while reading Moon Palace, I always felt like there was something working just under the surface. It was a comforting something, kind of like a blanket, actually.I liked that sensation, and I'll read more Auster in the hopes that I'll find it again. Next time, I might even remember to take the book with me when I leave New York.Lucinda
Heartbreaking and breathtaking. Absolutely stunning. I'm so glad I changed my mind about Paul Auster. It makes me want to read more, now. Moon Palace has all the necessary ingredients to make a good novel: good sense of pace, family secrets, adventure, revenge, likeable yet complex characters. There are 300 pages and yet so many things happen! You feel like you've read a whole saga. That's why I would advise for not reading it too quickly. Auster teaches you a wonderful lesson about life.Zaki
Paul Auster is a great, great storyteller.Alexander Popov
I read Moon Palace about four months ago. I really wanted to write something about it, even though its trace is no longer as fresh in my mind as it was then. This text is not a review. The book is wonderful, possibly the best Auster novel out of the three I’ve read (the other being The New York Trilogy and Timbuktu), and I’d recommend it heartily to anybody. This text isn’t an attempt at an exhaustive analysis either – I’m too far detached from my reading experience at this point. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but a degree of immediate entanglement with the text is essential to such a project. I’d like to think of it rather as a key or sorts; one that would allow me some day, when I revisit the story, to open more of its doors. I does contain some spoilers, and though I’ve tried not to reveal that much, it’s probably better to read it after the novel itself.My central intuition about Moon Palace (and by intuition I mean something composite, accumulated and thought-through, the result of many intuitive turns) is that it shouldn’t be interpreted at face value. In the first half of the book the narrator – one Marco Fogg – describes his unconditional surrender to the world: “Two years ago for reasons both personal and philosophical, I decided to give up the struggle. It wasn’t because I wanted to kill myself––you mustn’t think––but because I thought that by abandoning myself to the chaos of the world, the world might ultimately reveal some secret harmony to me, some form or pattern that would help me to penetrate myself.”If we the readers mimic Marco and surrender our trust completely to him, then we are tricked. The trick is beautiful and perhaps being tricked is part of that beauty, but it does not yield the penetration into reality that seems to be the subject of the novel. If we accept at face value the unlikely twists of fate that govern the story, essentially we choose to interpret Moon Palace as an escapist novel.Now don’t get me wrong, I love escapist novels and I particularly love the quasi-fantastical elements in Moon Palace. However, I don’t think that the book ultimately belongs to this tradition. There are plenty of clues to this end, strewn throughout and interconnected by a web of meaning. To unravel the web and open up the hidden spaces beneath the surface, one needs to find namely a proper key, and the safest, and probably wisest place to seek that key, is in the central image of the novel.This image is of course that of the moon, which crops up everywhere in the text: the title, the Moon Palace restaurant frequented by the characters, the references to Cyrano de Bergerac, the landing on the moon, the Moonlight painting, the emphasis on the moon’s place in the night sky at the very end. In addition to these apparent references, the image of the moon is used to construct much of the rest of the significant imagery. Lunar language is used to described Julian Barber, the recurrent motif of growth and diminishment (physical and social) harmonizes with the moon cycle and Fogg himself consciously recognizes the satellite as a force in his life: “I would turn my life into a work of art, sacrificing myself to such exquisite paradoxes that every breath I took would teach me how to savor my own doom. (…) The moon would block the sun, and at that point I would vanish.”The alignment between the moon and the Sun signals a Platonic interpretation of the world that is powerfully reinforced by TomasMoonPalace3 Effing’s seclusion in the cave in Utah. These two celestial bodies are employed in many cultural practices to encode and mythologize knowledge about the nature of knowledge. Moon Palace certainly engages in this tradition. The omnipresent image of the moon is situated in multiple webs of meaning, not just sensory and metaphorical (with relation to the narrative), but also specifically cultural. The Moon Palace restaurant, whose role in the story is seemingly peripheral (but actually pivotal to its interpretation), is an explicit invocation of the tradition of Taoism. In his “Ways of Looking at the Moon Palace”, Edward Schafer writes of the moon palace as “the destination of an adept’s liberated spirit”. Funny enough, he also writes the following: “Yet another old scripture tells of a great Tao lord for whom the “Moon Basilica of Widespread Cold” is a vestry where he assumes a costume of feathers before accepting a holy text from the supreme lord of the universe.”The liberation of the spirit is undoubtedly what Fogg is after, and let us not forget the etymology of his surname, duly elaborated upon by himself. “Fogg” supposedly comes from “Vogel”, the German word for bird. Its English transformation, on the other hand, is reminiscent of “fog” – what needs to be pierced through to locate the source of light, or knowledge.Taoism, as well as other mythological architectures and indeed art to some extent, is a system of codes. The iterative recombination of those codes seeks to illuminate life and perhaps lead the student to liberation, to the moon palace. No wonder its presence in the novel is only circumstantial – through the Chinese restaurant – and even that seems somehow incidental; the moon finds its place at the very end, and Marco with it: “Then the moon came up from behind the hills. It was a full moon, as round and yellow as a burning stone. I kept my eyes on it as it rose in the night sky, not turning away until it had found its place in the darkness.”The novel itself is constructed as a code and displays that quality generously. Just consider once again the narrator’s name and all its transformations, its happenstance connection to Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days (another story about the completion of cycles), the association with Marco Polo, who traveled to China, the suggestion that the initials MS (from Marco Stanley) might also stand for “manuscript”, i.e. for a life waiting to be written or perhaps decoded. Then there Marco’s stint as a translator, the whole business of changing identities and names (Effing’s), the invention of mythologies (Barber’s novel), the injection of intensely symbolic meaning into physical objects and acts.In the Tarot tradition, the moon is featured as the eighteenth trump, or Major Arcana card. Incidentally or not, Marco Fogg is eighteen years old when he arrives at New York to study in Columbia University. More importantly, the Moon is the card that is perhaps most closely allied to the interpretation of the imaginative powers of humans. In the Arthur Waite deck the face of the moon wears a deep frown (compare with the blissful child painted on the Sun card); beneath it we witness a landscape populated by two foreboding towers, a dog and wolf, a crayfish coming out of the water and a path leading into the distant horizon. Here is the interpretation of the card from The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Waite: MoonTarot“The distinction between this card and some of the conventional types is that the moon is increasing on what is called the side of mercy, to the right of the observer. It has sixteen chief and sixteen secondary rays. The card represents life of the imagination apart from life of the spirit. The path between the towers is the issue into the unknown. The dog and wolf are the fears of the natural mind in the presence of that place of exit, when there is only reflected light to guide it. The last reference is a key to another form of symbolism. The intellectual light is a reflection and beyond it is the unknown mystery which it cannot show forth. It illuminates our animal nature, types of which are represented below—the dog, the wolf and that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast. It strives to attain manifestation, symbolized by crawling from the abyss of water to the land, but as a rule it sinks back whence it came. The face of the mind directs a calm gaze upon the unrest below; the dew of thought falls; the message is: Peace, be still; and it may be that there shall come a calm upon the animal nature, while the abyss beneath shall cease from giving up a form.”Such an interpretation is clearly in the same Platonic vein that manifests itself time and again in the novel. Knowledge is reflected light, its source not directly accessible, ungraspable (in the same way the Tao/path is ineffable; it now strikes me as fitting that one of the characters trying to eff it should be named Effing); knowledge is inherently elliptic, riddled by gaps. The triad of reality-knowledge-imagination is at the heart of the moon image. Knowledge is derived from the true nature of things, from the Platonic world of ideas (the Sun in Tarot), but it is grasped as reflected light, i.e. as the Moon. Because of this, it is also distorted and incomplete to some extend.Herein lies the transmuting power of the imagination, which slides signifiers through metaphor and metonymy and encodes patterns of knowing, hiding but at the same time preserving knowledge. True knowledge might not be fully graspable in rational terms (just as Marco cannot fully explain the importance of having the baby with Kitty, he just knows it); it is nevertheless preserved as patterns that hide deep beneath the lives of ordinary people, in mythology and art. The mind can flirt with that hidden knowledge, unwittingly, and on some rare occasions it can be granted passage into the moon palace where the moon’s reflected light is strongest.In Taoism, Zen, mindfulness meditation, Yoga, Christian prayer, etc., a crucial prerequisite to achieving illumination is the stilling of the mind. Its restless nature is identified as a detriment early on in Moon Palace, via the character of uncle Victor: “Being the sort of person who always dreams of doing something else while occupied, he could not sit down to practice a piece without pausing to work out a chess problem in his head, could not play chess without thinking about the failures of the Chicago Clubs, could not go to the ballpark without considering some minor character in Shakespeare, and then, when he finally got home, could not sit down with his book for more than twenty minutes without feeling the urge to play his clarinet.”This restlessness often precludes the mind from encompassing the core meaning of things, if there ever is such a thing. Perhaps Effing’s demanding tasks for Marco, who has to describe in excruciating detail physical objects to his blind employer––especially the task of meticulously studying the Moonlight painting––can be seen as some kind of strange Western analogue to the meditative traditions of the East. Effing’s own self-imposed isolation in the Utah desert may be seen as such a form of meditation. I keep remembering a quote from Kafka that I read in Tom Robbins’s Still Life with Woodpecker: “You don’t need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, simply wait. Don’t even wait. Be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you. To be unmasked, it has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”This idea that the world’s secrets are hidden in the everyday reality surrounding us is probably crucial to Moon Palace, which seems to suggest that imagination is the key to opening that door. Imagination as the faculty of extracting meaning from unlikely sources and refashioning it to illuminate yet again: “Uncle Victor found meanings where no one else would have found them, and then, very deftly, he turned them into a form of clandestine support.”But as argued above, imagination has an erratic relationship with truth, just as the moon and the Sun’s. It can obscure, as well asSunTarot elucidate. They enter into shifting compositions, occasionally into syzygies (I’ve always wanted to use the word) that yield positive of negative effects. Take Marco and Kitty’s relationship for instance: “I knew that it was real, but at the same time it was better than reality, more nearly a projection of what I wanted from reality than anything I had experienced before.”This is the positive alignment which brings out the best out of the two. Later on, however, the moon, figuratively, comes to separate them. When Kitty finds out that she is pregnant from Fogg (the Moon card is often associated with impregnation in Tarot), her desire, framed in perfectly rational terms, is to have an abortion. Marco wants them to keep the baby, thinking of how his own mother decided to raise him without a father and let him be. He cannot express this urge rationally, rather he feels compelled to take this stance, by a force beyond his ken. These shifting interpersonal configurations are ubiquitous in the novel.So where does all this leave us? I’m the last person to disdain an interpretation that hinges on a theory of synchronicity, i.e. on a metaphysical explanation. But I feel that such an approach is not very useful here, it introduces a disunity between the elements of the story, robs it of a fuller potential. I prefer an alternative model which essentially replaces the impersonal metaphysical force with the very personal force of artistic imagination.I do have to reread the book to cull exhaustive evidence for this hypothesis, but in retrospection it is a no-brainer that Marco Fogg might easily be an unreliable narrator. A very unreliable one, to the extent that it’s possible that none of his narrative ever really “happened” (in terms of the pretend realities constructed by fiction, of course). There are plenty of points along the story when Marco can have – deliberately or due to a mental illness – veered significantly from the truthful representation of reality. He does, after all, subject himself to a life of poverty and seclusion, fills his head with the 1492 books left to him by his departed uncle Victor (his favorite person in the whole world), lives in a cave in Central Park, almost dies. Madness is a recurrent topic, with more than one excellent specimen on display, most notably the possibly fictitious appearance of the elderly Nicola Tesla in Effing’s account.Or maybe Fogg devised the whole story as a sort of therapeutic enterprise that let him redefine his life and his relation to the world. He refers many times throughout the novel to his present life, supposedly well after the events in the book, but never reveals anything about it; perhaps that is a future state that anticipates that transformative effects of imagination and storytelling. Or perhaps Marco Fogg’s story is a meta-autobiographical account of Auster’s own life – the similarities between the fatherless writer and his characters have been noted by many.Whatever the truth, whatever the extent of “fabrication” (which is necessarily of a second order, as it is taking place within a fictional reality), an explanation that incorporates Marco Fogg as an active (co-)creator rather than as a passive observer is much more sensible and in accord with what is suggested by the novel. Below I give a number of quotes that demonstrate how emphatically the book insists on talking about imagination: “Causality was no longer the hidden demiurge that ruled the universe: down was up, the last was the first, the end was the beginning. Heraclitus had been resurrected from his dung heap, and what he had to show us was the simplest of truths: reality was a yo-yo, change was the only constant.” * “The true purpose of art was not to create beautiful objects, he discovered. It was a method of understanding, a ways of penetrating the world and finding one’s place in it, and whatever aesthetic qualities an individual canvas might have were almost an incidental by-product of the effort to engage oneself in this struggle, to enter into the thick of things.” * “This was imagination in its purest form: the act of bringing nonexistent things to life, of persuading others to accept a world that was not really there.” * “His facts might not always have been correct, but he was telling the truth.” * “It comes down to that, Fogg, in the end it’s all a figment. The only place you exist is in your head.” * “A here exists only in relation to a there, not the other way round. There’s this only because there’s that; if we don’t look up, we’ll never know what’s down. Think of it, boy. We find ourselves only by looking what we’re not. You can’t put your feet on the ground until you’ve touched the sky.”One might argue that in the end Fogg has found his vocation – to be a writer. He ends up with a number of stories that are produced within the framing one (Kitty’s, Effing’s, Barber’s), possibly by himself. He discovers (or invents) his lost identity, and through a string of symbolic and not-so-symbolic deaths gives it up to fashion a new one, with the moon in the right place in the sky. Much of Marco’s experience as an aide to Effing actually resembles the painful transformation of an ordinary observer into a writer: “The problem was less in my delivery than in my general approach. I was piling too many words on top of each other, and rather than reveal the thing before us, they were in fact obfuscating it, burying it under an avalanche of subtleties and geometric abstractions.”MoonPalace1One of the covers of Moon Palace depicts a bird laden with books, flying beneath a full moon, possibly trying to reach it. The knowledge in those books, I believe, at the same time pulls the bird down to the earth and constitutes its only chance of succeeding. To reach the moon palace and walk the path (the Tao) to its end, Marco must arrive at a new form of knowledge. He must simultaneously lose all pretense of knowing (by giving up uncle Victor’s books and, metaphorically and literally, his life) and incorporate it deeper into his fate (through imagination). Not being able to tell what part of his story is true and what false sums up a major point of the novel: true knowledge is not merely a reflection of factual reality, it is alchemically derived from the pale, reflected fire of the moon. The moon itself is never static, it is always in flux, just as people go through cyclical phases in their lives. Imagination can guide the path into the palace. At least in the canon of Paul Auster.Originally published on my blog.Zeynep K
“... Sanki kendimi uçurumdan atmıştım da, tam yere çarpacağım sırada beklenmedik bir şey olmuş gibiydi: beni sevenler olduğunu öğrendim. Öylesine sevilmek her şeyi değiştiriyor. Uçurumdan düşmenin dehşetini azaltmıyor, ama o dehşete yepyeni bir anlam boyutu getiriyor. Uçurumdan atlamıştım ve son anda bir şey uzandı, beni havada yakaladı. O bir şeyin adına sevgi diyorum. İnsanı düşmekten alıkoyacak tek şey, yerçekimi yasalarını yok edecek kadar güçlü tek şey sevgidir.”"... Hep yanlış zamanlarda doğru yerde, doğru zamanlarda yanlış yerdeydik. Hep kıl payı kaçırmıştık birbirimizi. Gerçeği yakalamaya hep birkaç santim uzakta kalakalmıştık. Bence işin özeti bu. Bir dizi kaçırılmış fırsat. Bütün parçalar, ta baştan beri ortaydı, ama kimse onları nasıl birleştirip bütünleştireceğini bilemiyordu."Deborah Katz
I love everything this man writes. Sometimes I take a break, thinking he's redundant.Maybe he is. I don't give a damn. His characters are real inside their heads and inside the reader's heads. They are everyone's most heartbreaking anti-social impulses come to dream-life.Like Grace Paley...only harder where she's soft, and softer where she's hard. Manhattan where she's Brooklyn. Brooklyn when she's Manhattan. And, of course, y'know, about dudes.Philipp
I can't rate this book, because of my love-hate relationship with it. Auster has a knack for telling the most unlikely stories in a likable way, but sometimes he is flirting too hard with the abyss of the bizarre; as in this story of a young man on the quest for his identity.I fell in love with the novel on the first 100 or so pages, then grew to hate it on the last 200 or so pages. Now, I have a "we're still friends but cannot be together" kind of relationship, and I'll leave it at that.Oceana2602
So there is that guy who grows up, moves to New York and then ends up living in Central Park for a while.Doesn't sound interesting? Yep, I admit I wouldn't have bought the book, but it was given to me and I cannot NOT read a book when you give it to me. I am now convinced that Paul Auster could make everything, well, maybe not interesting in a literal sense, but he makes you want to know. I couldn't stop reading, but if you ask me what I liked about this book, I come up blank. The closest I come is to say that it is an expertly told story that I needed to read at the time I did read it.There's also that description of the protagonist living in his appartment (whe he still has one) without furniture, building everything out of the boxes full of books that his uncle left him, and then starting to sell off the books one by one in order to be able to afford food, a description that will stay with me, because I love the idea of owning nothing but books, and I love how it tore my heart a little when he sold them. Which was just another thing I didn't like about the passive, unlikeable Fogg, but even my dislike for the main character didn't make me want to devour this book any less.Coclusion: You don't have to like Auster to admit that he is a genius.Daniel Buitrago
Estos días, leyendo El Palacio de la Luna, de Paul Auster, he pensado más de una vez que su protagonista tenía mucho que ver con el de El guardián entre el centeno. Ayer murió J. D. Salinger, padre de la criatura, y vuelvo a pensar que las casualidades existen, o que, sin llamarlas necesariamente así, el mundo está hecho de las conexiones entre el sinfín de cosas que nos rodean, los millones de sensaciones que nos asaltan a todos a la vez, y el cruce de nuestros pensamientos y su producción imparable.No es que Holden Caulfield, el hijo de Salinger, sea primo hermano de Marco Stanley Fogg, el de Auster. Cada uno vive en un momento diferente y los Estados Unidos han cambiado también lo suyo entre los años cincuenta y los sesenta. Lo que sí ocurre es que en las dos novelas hay unos cuantos puntos comunes, aparte del gran escenario en el que las dos se desarrollan: Nueva York.Tanto Holden Caulfield como Fogg son dos jóvenes en plena búsqueda de sí mismos. Muchos, cuando leen El guardián entre el centeno a eso de los quince años, acaban identificados con su protagonista, reconociéndose en su actitud y en su rebeldía. Les entiendo, aunque es posible que hoy nuestro modo de vida les separe de esas pulsiones algo más básicas de Caulfield, distintas de otras más "tecnológicas" que hoy les asaltan. Quizás porque lo leí con el doble de la edad que se le supone a su lector ideal, no tuve la sensación de que debía estar entre mis libros de cabecera (¿los tengo?). Tal vez también rechacé ese tesón autodestructivo del protagonista, algo en lo que coincide con Fogg, al menos en una buena parte de la novela.Otros personajes también me recuerdan los unos a los otros. Sunny, la prostituta de El guardián, aparece casi de la misma forma que Kitty Woo, la amante y después novia de Fogg. Otros individuos con un toque redentor surgen para dar un poco de esperanza (no tanto a los protagonistas como al propio lector). Son el señor Spencer, ex-profesor de Holden, y Effing, viejo excéntrico que sirve a Fogg para centrarse y asumir alguna responsabilidad.Fogg acaba tocando fondo cuando pasa una temporada viviendo en Central Park. Allí mismo se produce uno de los hitos de El guardián: la conversación surrealista que Holden mantiene una noche con un taxista, preocupado por saber dónde van los patos del lago de Central Park cuando éste se congela cada invierno. En El Palacio hay otro encuentro nocturno: un encuentro con la imaginación más pura, la de un joven negro que juega con un paraguas roto. Esto traerá alguna consecuencia; la noche cumple su papel motor en ambas novelas.Richard Stuart
The moon is symbolic of illusion, mystery and madness... themes which are explored in Auster's novel, but to only moderate success. But what this book is really about is the inexplicable connection of paternity, the gravity of family.This book never made me hungry for it though it was an easy read and was deftly filled with 'mooniness' throughout. Picaresque, full of adventure and synchronicity, 'Moon Palace' somehow didn't move me like I expected it too. Fogg might have been the problem. I just couldn't get into him although I understood him quite well. Effing was a good character, but somehow I didn't get enough of him, or enough out of him. Barber, I felt the most sorry for and therefore I liked the best. If I had to put my finger on it, why this novel fails to really satisfy and become a great work, I would have to say that it was Auster's choice of the first person point of view. He limits himself and the reader by trapping us inside the mind of a twenty-something character who can only relate the events of the story through his own inchoate understanding. It is the depth of feeling that could have been stirred by musing further on the events and their effects and aftermaths, perhaps even a more poetic prose to stand in contrast, that could have given the novel what it was lacking. I haven't read enough of Auster to know if he is capable of it, though I would hope so. My recommendations is this, read the 'New York Trilogy' first. It is totally unique and subtly disturbing in its abstract illusions. 'Moon Palace' is a fair piece of fiction, but it isn't literature. You can take it or leave it, really.Ahmad
ما همیشه، یا جای دُرست بودیم در زمان غلط، یا جای غلط بودیم در زمان دُرست، و همیشه، همینگونه همدیگر را از دست داده ایم! مون پلاس، پل استرAaber Rinstad
I'd give this book one star only, but I feel maybe (though I'm not thoroughly convinced) that somewhere under all the awful, pretentious drivel there's a kernel of something interesting. I mean - by itself - the plot elements have the makings of something to pique the interest of even a casual reader; curious characters, strange happenings, wordplay and symbolism. And maybe I'm missing something others can see in this book. Apparently it's pretty well received overall. I feel, however, that this book is flawed, if not just outright bad. One problem is that despite Auster's attempts to imbue his characters with interesting characteristics, he fails miserably at expounding on these qualities in the actual narrative. Let me elaborate: he doesn't describe people through their actions or interactions. Not even through dialogue. He just whips up an adjective and expects you to buy it. Sol has great "wit and charm", Auster (or rather, Fogg) informs us, but I cannot recall a single instance of this wit or charm actually occurring in the book. It feels stumblingly awkward, and on several occasions exasperatingly lazy. Halfway through the book I actually threw up my head and groaned loudly at the quality of the writing. I think it was during introduction of Kitty - a character and plot line so weak you could use it to dilute water. She's probably the least believable female stereotype I've ever had the misfortune to encounter. And also so obviously the writers personal fantasy that's it's embarrassing. At one point Auster (oops, I mean Fogg) candidly tells us "I pulled down Kitty's jeans and panties and brought her to orgasm with my tounge". I would have winced but for the sad inadequacy of the text at producing arousal of any kind.And it's not just the ennui of the sex scenes or the morbidly one-dimensional characters either. The way he writes dialogue is just astoundingly bad. Not a single one of his characters has a unique voice, they all sound like the same person when they speak. He might as well have skipped the dialogue all together, as it only functions to forward plot, and often only in only the most rudimentary way.Another huge problem is that the protagonist is not only a shallow, self absorbed sociopath with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, he's not even interesting. I had absolutely no interest in finding out anything about his intentions or plans, motives or history. I didn't care one way or another about whether he starved or got laid or found out who his father was. He leaves this Kitty character and then wallows in misery like it's somehow not his own fault. He shows no empathy or interest towards anyone apart from himself.Apart from these things Auster writes OK. He's never brilliant, often adequate, sometimes quite awful. There's a lot of symbolism, mainly revolving (ha!) around the moon. But it doesn't feel significant to the story, and it fails to deliver anything more than shallow connections and musings on the themes of the book - much like the characters, the setting and the dialogue. I had no idea what this book was trying to tell me, and I would venture to say that neither does Auster.I finished Moon Palace on principle, because I don't like to judge a book unless I've read the whole thing. And for sure, there are some qualities in this book, particularly the story about Effing in the desert and the cave. But the qualities of the main story are sadly buried underneath a heap of purple prose, anemic characterization and bland dialogue. I was recommended this book, but I will sadly not be recommending it to anyone, ever.