Paul Auster and why I shouldn’t be so cheap

It was not until I read The Red Notebook that I realized I liked Paul Auster’s work. Yet I’d already read 4 of his books and seen maybe 2 of his movies. I can’t think of any other author who I supposedly didn’t like who could motivate me to keep picking up his books. His heroes are almost always trapped (spoilers): a young man buried alive in the dirt overnight in Mr. Vertigo, Harvey Keitel locked in a dingy stone room, and a poor soul with no language.

His stories’ locales are minimal, quiet and stark, a hard place for the hero to return to. Surely, they were once very real rooms for the writer himself. And the mother in me wishes to paint him a happier room. And there may be the reason I keep reading him.

When I first picked up Auster’s work, Mr. Vertigo, I’d just finished a spate of Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels. And after the 8th Marquez book, or any other author for that matter, the stories ran together and I wondered if there was a reason to read the ninth. Auster seemed bizarre but not so supernaturally as Marquez. In that way he was a break from Marquez’s eccentric Catholics and ascensions to heaven.

Auster’s books had lead me around the interconnected libraries of Austin, Texas. And whatever drew me from the closing of one book to the opening of another, I may only learn on the 2nd readings. Also, I had finally left my hometown where I felt suffocated and had trouble reading anything due to a stress-induced bout of obsessive-compulsion. Brad suggested these eerie authors weren’t helping, so I took a break from fiction altogether.

I’ve just realized that I’ve never spent any money on Paul Auster’s work, and now that I’ve decided to like him, I’m feeling a little guilty about that. At 61, he just released his newest book called Man in the Dark. Vulture interview found here thanks to The only reason I haven’t been motivated to read it is because it’s been constantly gone from the Pleasanton library, so I’ve enjoyed reaching back to the older books. Currently I’m enjoying The Invention of Solitude, c. 1982. I always knew I would because in it, he’s written about his just deceased father in a way that I’d like to write about certain people who have to be buried first.

When I’m done with this one, and possibly Brooklyn Follies, I may have to pay real money for Man in the Dark. Does Auster get paid the same if I wait for the 15% Barnes & Noble coupon?