Moon Palace

ISBN: 0140115854
ISBN 13: 9780140115857
By: Paul Auster

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About this book

Marco Stanley Fogg is an orphan, a child of the sixties, a quester tirelessly seeking the key to his past, the answers to the ultimate riddle of his fate. As Marco journeys from the canyons of Manhattan to the deserts of Utah, he encounters a gallery of characters and a series of events as rich and surprising as any in modern fiction.Beginning during the summer that men first walked on the moon, and moving backward and forward in time to span three generations, Moon Palace is propelled by coincidence and memory, and illuminated by marvelous flights of lyricism and wit. Here is the most entertaining and moving novel yet from an author well known for his breathtaking imagination.

Reader's Thoughts

Tara

Auster's poetic use of language and the supremely convincing characterization of his protagonist made this novel one that I remember not so much by plot arches [though the plot is faultless], but in very vivid images of moments or point-surveys of MS Fogg's life. Living in an apartment furnished only with boxes of books that for his bed, chairs, table, and entertainment.Living in a shrub-cave in Central Park.Outlaw cave hideouts in the desert, covered in obscure paintings.Handing out money to people on the street in New York.Sitting in a waiting room for the Draft medical exam.The book ends in a very Gatsby-esque sort of summation of entropy and the futility of effort in the grand scheme of things. For all the depressing quotient of that, it's a beautifully written book that I widely reccommend.

Candice

I loved it. I loved reading this book, but I wish I hadn't read it so fast. I read it because of someone, and I can't thank him enough. I put myself in M.S's shoes, and I cried, I laughed, I dreamt. Paul has a poetic use of language, that's sure.

Geoff

What on earth?This book was recommended to me by a person whose taste in literature I hold in high regard. That's why I was surprised to discover, halfway through the book, that it's a really terrible piece of pretentious writing. I felt no empathy with the main character -- a really spoiled, pretentiously "eccentric" kid with an Asian fetish trying to revel in the black aethetic of his free-fall into poverty. He's saved by Kitty Wu, the sexually precocious daughter of Chinese royalty or some such nonsense. She falls for the narrator for no other reason than the author apparently wanting her to do so. She seduces him with the line "Here comes the dragon lady" or thereabouts, which made me bristle to say the least. Then he dumps her and meets an old dude, and the old dude tells him some stories about the past. Then the book ends.This story felt like three stories sloppily sewn together into some terrible Frankenstein's monster. Kitty Wu is the most Orientalist character I've encountered in a book post-WW2. I came to think of the narrator as more and more of an asshole as the story went on.People go nuts over this guy, Paul Auster. I just don't get it. Maybe this wasn't the right book, but I have a feeling the problem lies deeper, with the author. I certainly won't be picking up another of his books anytime soon.

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.

Matthew

Toward the end of The Brooklyn Follies, Auster's 2005 novel, he states; "Eventually, we would all die, and when our bodies were carried off and buried in the ground, only our friends and families would know we were gone. Our deaths wouldn't be announced on radio or television. There wouldn't be any obituaries in the New York Times. No books would be written about us. That is an honor reserved for the powerful and famous, for the exceptionally talented, but who bothers to publish biographies of the ordinary, the unsung, the workaday people we pass on the street and barely take the trouble to notice?" Auster thereby provides a glimpse of an idea that he develops more fully elsewhere, his Biography Project. Auster's works are always concerned with the relationship between life, existence, identity, writing and narrative, so it is no surprise that biographies, and autobiographies, are an ever present component of his stories. In 2001, Auster edited True Tales of American Life, (later renamed to I Thought My Father Was God) a collection from NPR's National Story Project, which no doubt provided the impetus for the biography project he mentioned in The Brooklyn Follies. Auster goes on to say, "Most lives vanish. A person dies, and little by little all traces of that life disappear. An inventor survives in his inventions, an architect survives in his buildings, but most people leave behind no monuments or lasting achievements: a shelf of photograph albums, a fifth-grade report card, a bowling trophy, an ashtray filched from a Florida hotel room on the final morning of some dimly remembered vacation. A few objects, a few documents, and a smattering of impressions made on other people." This is a poignant realization that Auster explored touchingly in his early non-fiction work, The Invention of Solitude, particularly in the short story Portrait of an Invisible Man, a description of the aftermath of the death of his father. In sifting through the detritus of his father's home, the old suits, the drawers full of correspondence, the contents of kitchen cabinets, closets and attics, the flotsum of an entire life, Paul discovers much that is true and much that was unknown and surprising. I bring all this up because in reading both Moon Palace and the Invention of Solitude immediately following The Brooklyn Follies, I was struck by the intertextual nature of all these works. Auster tells you exactly what he is doing, but not always in the same book you're reading. Someone once said that Antonioni only made one film in several installments. I think much the same thing could be said for Paul Auster. In Moon Palace, Auster embarked on his biography project for three characters: Marco Stanley Fogg, Thomas Effing and Solomon Barber, producing for each of them a biography that would "rescue the stories and facts and documents before they disappeared-and shape them into a continuous narrative, the narrative of a life." In Effing's case, he even goes so far as to have the character write his own last testament and his own obituary. To Auster, this is no morbid exercise, but rather an affirmation of life. For many of his characters, the constitution of the self is not a foregone conclusion, but rather a constant process of revision and redrafting. In his biography project, Auster promises to "resurrect that person in words, and once the pages had been printed and the story had been bound between covers, they would have something to hold on to for the rest of their lives. Not only that, but something that would outlive them, that would outlive us all." In Moon Palace, Auster shows us the intertwined nature of all our lives, the startling coincidences, the hidden connections to seeming strangers and casual acquiantances, the shameful family secrets and the anonymous good deeds that bring us all together into the pages of a single story and make us all characters in our own narratives.

Paul

Zadie Smith, in an introduction for a Nonrequired Reading Anthology brought a James Joyce quote to my attention"That ideal reader suffering from an ideal insomnia" -Joyce"The ideal reader cannot sleep when holding the writer he was meant to be with." - SmithThis is how I feel about Paul Auster, especially concerning Moon Palace. An odd series of events lead me to read this book at the perfect time. I was on a road trip in which the route of my companions and I followed a route traced by the protagonist of this novel, from Chicago to Utah, almost exactly. The moon landing had featured prominently in conversations with one of my fellow travelers, Charlie. In one ear was Charlie, at the peak of an obsession with Nikola Tesla as the archetypal hero of science and underdogs and Thomas Edison standing for all that is wrong and corrupt. In the other ear was a central character's retelling of chance encounters with Mr. Tesla, referring to Edison only as "That asshole from Menlo." All after this book had been sitting on my shelves unread for months, perhaps waiting for the moment to strike. When I started loaning this book out and persuading people to read it, the odd coincidences started up again.

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.

Mahmoud

این رمان سه قسمت دارد. قسمت اول زندگی مارکو و فراز و نشیب'هایش تا قبل از آشنایی با افینگ. قسمت دوم آشنایی ماركو با افینگ و زندگی پر رمز و راز اوست. قسمت سوم نیز آشنایی'اش با باربر كه موجب كشف حقایقی درباره هویت ميشود. و البته اتفاقاتی که سرنوشت ماركو را تغيير ميدهند. از نوشته'هاى استر به خاطر اينكه زندگى آدمهاى معمولى را اينچنين توصيف و دستخوش اتفاقات جادويى ميكند لذت ميبرم. راوى در اين رمان به خوبى نقش خود را به عنوان قصه'گو ايفا ميكند به خصوص در قسمت دوم كتاب كه سرنوشت افينگ را هم از زبان خود افينگ بازگو ميكند و هم از زبان خود ماركو. مون پالاس كه البته مترجم تلفظ صحيحش را ننوشته، دومين رمان و پنجمين قصه بعد از سه قصه كتاب سه'گانه نيويورك و داستان كوتاه "دود" است كه ميخوانم. جادوى كلمات استر است كه مرا مجاب ميكند باز هم كتابى از او بگيرم و غرق در دنياى معمولى ولى در عين حال جادويى'اش شوم. در آخر هم متن پشت جلد كتاب را مينويسم چون همين متن كوتاه خواننده را مجاب ميكند كتاب را ورق بزند: مون پالاس هم زمان با فرود انسان بر کره'ی ماه آغاز می'شود و در زمان پس و پیش می'رود تا سه نسل قرن بیستمی را به تصویر بکشد. مارکو استنلی فاگ کس و کاری ندارد و از جمله آدم'های بی'قراری است که مدام گذشته'شان را زیر و رو می'کنند تا کلید معمای سرنوشت'شان را به چنگ بیاورند. استر در این رمان مهارت قصه'گویی'اش را در خدمت رمان مدرن به کار میگیرد.

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.

Peter

Es ist die Geschichte von M.S. Fogg, der sich auf der Suche nach sich selbst in seiner eigenen Welt verirrt. Eine Welt, die ihm durch das Aufwachsen ohne Vater in einer konservativen Umgebung und durch den frühen Tod seiner Mutter geprägt ist und in eine gelebte Depression gipfelt. Beeindruckend schafft es Paul Auster mit prägnanter aber durchdachter Sprache zu fesseln. Stilsicher wird man in das New York der 60er Jahre und den "Wilden Westen" mitgenommen. Ein Buch das voller Interpretationsmöglichkeiten steckt, das bereichert ohne aufdringlich zu sein, das erzählt ohne den unbedingten Anspruch auf Belehrung haben zu wollen.4*

Violet Yates

SPOILER ALERTI loved this novel. Paul Auster has done it again, with remarkable depth and brilliance. As always, Auster's ideas are amazing, and make for an entertaining read as well as a study on identity.Marco Stanley Fogg, or M.S. Fogg, is an orphan who seems to be spending the entire story searching for his identity, mostly, it appears, indirectly. The novel starts out in New York City, when M.S. is finishing up college at Columbia University. He begins by explaining about his relationship with his Uncle Victor, and how Victor had gifted his entire collection of books to M.S. M.S. uses the novels, packed into boxes, as furniture at first. But when his Uncle dies, he slowly begins to dismantle his furniture, and thus his identity, by reading the novels and selling them off as he finishes. Prior to this, he had been dubbed Phileas, a character from Around the World in 80 Days, a movie that Uncle Victor had taken him to see as a child. Upon his uncle's death, he has no choice but to slough off this identity. There is no one left to M.S. in the entire world, so he allows a financial dilemma to literally consume him until his life is at stake. Then he meets Kitty, and a new identity is formed, that of 'Kitty's Twin.' When M.S. becomes destitute, homeless and sick, it seems as if the end is near. But he is rescued by Kitty and his friend Zimmer. Zimmer brings him home and nurses him back to health. He narrowly escapes being drafted into the army because the doctors think he is crazy. He begins to rally and offers to repay Zimmer for helping him by translating a French manuscript into English. Then he takes a job with Thomas Effing, an elderly, well-to-do gentleman in need of a companion. Effing had to replace his former companion, Pavel Shum, after Pavel was hit by a car, as was M.S.' mother. Thus M.S. takes on a new identity; he became Pavel's ghost.While working for Effing, he learns of how Effing used to be Julian Barber, until Barber faked his own death, became a hermit named Tom, then dubbed himself Thomas Effing. Effing turns out to have a son named Solomon Barber, who in turn is the father of someone else. Solomon had initiated his own search for his identity as a child, for he was also an orphan, just like Kitty and M.S. This entire story involves people and their attempt to find their identities, to discover who they truly are. This is not just a physical journey, but a spiritual one. Finding one's place in the world… It's not just about names but about who we are as human beings, and our place in the universe, about how the world is a large place, but at the same time, we are all related to a certain extent.I have enjoyed Paul Auster's novels since college. Although it isn't an easy, light read, its weight causes the reader to ponder the deeper meaning of life and our place in it. The interconnectedness of the characters in this story shows us how truly small our world really is.

Corey Pung

According to Auster, as a starving artist fresh out of college he dashed off a few formulaic mystery novels under a nom-de plume to bring in cash. I have reason to believe this, considering what Auster’s pictures looked like from when he was in his twenties. His face had a sunken and brooding quality to it, as if he’d not only learned how to skip a meal, but also how to get by on little sleep. To this day, Auster won’t reveal what those early books were called, nor what his pen name was.When he started writing under his own name, he produced a large output of good work in a relatively short amount of time, namely the novellas that comprise his New York Trilogy as well as Moon Palace (with one misstep in between, The Country of Lost Things). Moon Palace is arguably the best of his books. It’s a coming of age novel unlike most others of its type. Personally, I’d rank it above The Catcher in the Rye but below A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in terms of what the best 20th century bildungsroman is.To read my full review, please go to:http://coreysbook.wordpress.com/2011/...

Quang Khuê

Sự dễ chịu trong hành động đọc đôi khi nằm ở chỗ mọi thứ dường như được đẩy tới giới hạn của nó. Những sự kiện lỡ dở trong cuộc sống sớm nhường chỗ cho những quyết định. Vài chuyện lấp lửng cũng trở nên chóng vánh và dứt khoát. Giống như nhân vật Marco Fogg trong Moon Palace (Paul Auster – dịch giả: Cao Việt Dũng, Nhã Nam và NXB Hội Nhà Văn ấn hành) nhanh chóng “biến cuộc đời mình thành một tác phẩm nghệ thuật, bằng cách tự hiến mình cho cái nghịch lý tối hảo” (tr.41). Nghĩa là cậu chàng dứt khoát “không hề động tay vào việc gì” (tr.40), lay lắt mỗi ngày bằng hai quả trứng và ngồi chờ “thưởng thức kết cục” (tr.41) của chính mình.Paul Auster viết Moon Palace đan xen từ ba câu chuyện có kết cấu rõ ràng. Không khó để ta nắm bắt các tình tiết vốn đã hấp dẫn và cuốn hút. Đó là câu chuyện về cậu chàng Marco Fogg kỳ quái thực hành “thứ chủ nghĩa hư vô được nâng lên tầm một định đề mỹ học” (tr.41), bằng cách cố gắng sống mà không phải kiếm tiền. Đó là cuộc đời của tay họa sĩ già Thomas Effing chìm nổi trong những sự kiện hư thực lẫn lộn, với sa mạc, hang đá, những tên cướp và nỗi cô độc. Hay là thân hình phì nộn, cái đầu hói của Solomon Barber với những ám ảnh về người cha đã khuất khắc họa trong câu chuyện mang tên Máu của Kepler.Những mảnh ghép trôi nổi, dòng sự kiện diễn ra giữa ba nhân vật chính trên được giải đáp bằng sự ngẫu nhiên của cuộc đời họ. Marco đến với Effing sau khi suýt đầu hàng thần chết trong mưa lạnh giữa công viên trung tâm New York. Còn Effing gặp Solomon sau cái chết của Thomas, cũng chính là cha của Solomon. Cuộc đời con người có được bao nhiêu lần ngẫu nhiên như thế. Paul Auster dường như thích những mối dây liên kết. Và không có gì hợp lý bằng liên kết các nhân vật, chi tiết, cuộc đời và mọi thứ giữa họ lại với nhau bằng những tình cờ. Như chính Marco trong đợt khám tuyển lính đã tuyên bố “Cuộc đời của chúng ta được qui định bởi vô vàn sự tình cờ” (tr. 131)Moon Palace là dung hòa của vô số chi tiết tuyệt đối đặc biệt. Nhưng những con nhân vật của Moon Palace đều phát triển theo chiều hướng chung: cô độc và khát khao tự thân tồn tại. Vì cô độc giữa thế giới nên buộc phải quay lưng lại mọi thứ. Và vì chòng chành trong những mối dây liên kết lỏng lẻo, họ buộc phải khẳng định cuộc sống của mình theo một cách khác. Với Marco là việc ngồi một chỗ bán dần từng cuốn sách của ông bác Victor và sống lần hồi, với Effing là chuyến đi từ bỏ thế giới, là hành động thay tên đổi họ sau những tháng ngày ẩn giật. Còn đối với Solomon là tập cách sống không cần nhìn mặt mọi thứ trên đời dù ở ông chẳng có chút nào gọi là kiêu hãnh lẫn tự phụ. Tất cả cuộc sống đối với họ, kể cả những nhân vật phụ như bác Victor, Kitti, Emily – mẹ của Marco có vẻ chỉ là một trò may rủi bất tận, kéo dài không dứt từ thế hệ này sang thế hệ khác. Họ dù già hay trẻ, dù khoảng cách thế hệ có bao nhiêu, vẫn muốn “buông mình vào sự hỗn độn của vũ trụ” (tr. 132) để có thể tìm thấy “một sự hài hòa bí mật nào đó” (tr 132)Moon Palace còn là câu chuyện của những hoang mang, đánh đổi và trả giá. Bên trong Moon Palace, người ta có quyền sống theo những cách thật đặc biệt. Song le, không có nghĩa là họ có thể chối bỏ mọi hậu quả bên ngoài lẫn bên trong tâm hồn mình. Marco đánh đổi cho “thứ chủ nghĩa hư vô” đó của mình bằng cách chịu đói khát, lạnh lẽo trong công viên như một kẻ vô gia cư. Effing trả giá bằng một cuộc sống tật nguyền, bằng cách phân phát hết số tiền mà ông cho rằng mình đã lấy từ những người khác. Và từ thế hệ này sang thế hệ khác, họ lần lượt lượt mắc những sai lầm giống nhau. Effing từ bỏ đứa con để bắt đầu một cuộc sống khác. Solomon vô tình không biết mình còn một người con. Đến Marco, cố gắng để giữ lại cái thai trong bụng Kitti, cuối cùng đã mất đi tình yêu của mình.Trong Điệu valse giã từ của Milan Kundera, nhân vật Jakub luôn có bên mình một viên thuốc độc màu xanh. Với nó, ông có thể kết thúc cuộc sống bất kỳ lúc nào. Và bằng cách đó cắt đứt đi tất cả các mối dây tồn tại của mình với thế giới. Cũng với cách tư duy như thế, một ý muốn tự thân khiến Effing quyết định ngày giờ chết của mình. Song ông không dùng thuốc độc, ông cố gắng bị ốm, cố gắng cho đến ngày đã định và cố gắng chết một cách tự nhiên. Đó không phải thứ cố gắng của “chủ nghĩa hư vô”. Effing vẫn muốn nối mối dây cuối cùng với tự nhiên. Và thông qua đó có lẽ ông muốn khẳng định lần cuối ý chí sống, khát khao hòa nhập vào một điều gì đó to lớn và có sức ràng buộc hơn là một đời người.Paul Auster dường như đi đến rất gần với văn hóa phương Đông với những đan xen chằng chịt từ thế hệ này sang thế hệ khác, với quan niệm của ông về cuộc đời, về dấn thân và những trả giá. Paul Auster nhìn mỗi sự kiện như một thắt nút mở ra nhiều sự kiện khác với nhiều điều bất ngờ không đoán định được. Tác phẩm của ông - Moon Palace giống như một sự mỉa mai thứ chủ nghĩa cá nhân tuyệt đối muốn phủ nhận những liên hệ giữa người với người. Chúng ta có thể cô đơn giữa cuộc đời, song bản chất cuộc đời luôn có những ràng buộc cố hữu không lay chuyển được. Có lẽ bởi vì mặt trăng mà mỗi ngày chúng ta ngắm nhìn vẫn tồn tại. Mặt trăng như trong một cuốn sách khác Red Notebook, Paul Auster đã nói “là tất cả trong một, nó là một chuẩn mực. Đó là mặt trăng như một huyền thoại…, trí tưởng tượng, tình yêu và sự điên rồ”

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.

Aaber 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.

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