Bringing a novel as companion for the lazy days outdoors is a classic summer-phenomena. People carrying it around for weeks, well worn and frayed before it is placed in the bookshelf; an artefact never to see sunlight again. Commonly it seems that holiday-readers wants this book to be an easy read for relaxation and entertainment, reader preferences that are often found in a popular crime novel, love story or perhaps a fantasy novel, with vampire themed stories being the most common these days.
This phenomenon with reading as undemanding and pleasant recreation is not strange per se, what’s strange is the preconception that some literature is an easy read and some is not, consequently limiting people in their choice of literature. In other words, easy or demanding recreation lies to a great extent within the attitude and approach of the reader towards a novel and not in the novel itself.
So, turning the attention to the renowned American fiction writer Paul Auster for the next reading session in the park guarantees a story with “easy” entertainment, but with additional depth that enables you to dig deep intellectually, neither not excluding the other. Auster has written 15 novels as well as poetry, non-fiction and screenplays. The most recent novel Sunset Park was published in 2009. Entering the world of Paul Auster is transformative with subjects such as; the search for identity, the work of chance in our lives and the powerlessness but excitement it brings to people, all written on a clear, easy to follow yet inventive prose.
All of Auster’s novels but most clearly The Music of Chance, The New York Trilogy or the more recent Man in the Dark fits the described Austeresque characteristics above and offers the same access to easy entertainment as your “I know what I get” genre bound book but adds more. The variation in character and interwoven plots never cease to surprise the reader. Do not worry, there is a mystery waiting to be solved here too, however it is not just a murder, but arguably life itself.
Text and photo by Linus Strand
Email Linus at: strand_linus[@}mail.com