Book Review: Sunset Park by Paul Auster (DNF)
May 31, 2011 28 Comments
I saw this book in a bookshop out on a table with new books, probably at the beginning of this year. It looked interesting, but so did about 11 of the 16 books that were spread out there. For me, it was an all or none thing. Buying all would be excessive so it became none.
Then I came across the book in the library last week, and I took it home.
I read it, but I didn’t finish it. I abandoned the book at page 75.
Sunset Park: What it is About
The book is about Miles Heller, a 28 year old college drop out who works for a company that removes property from vacated houses in order to clean up the houses for new tenants.
He falls in love with 16 year old Pilar and although they have to keep their relationship quiet because of her young age, she does move in with him, happy to escape the house she shared with her three sisters, as her parents died recently.
When Miles was 16, his stepbrother Bobby died in an accident where Miles was present, and Miles has never been sure whether it was accidental that Bobby died, or whether he (Miles) had subconsciously planned for this to happen. His life has been on hold ever since.
When someone threatens to report him to the police (because of his relationship with Pilar) he decides to take up the offer of a room in a shared house in New York, where his friend Bing is already living. So he leaves for New York.
Sunset Park: What I thought
No rating, as I didn’t get all that far with the book. In fact, I wouldn’t know how to rate this book.
I really enjoyed the beginning of the book, but as the story of Miles went on, I started to get bored. At some point Miles leaves Pilar to go to New York, and I couldn’t care less. That’s not a good sign. When a few pages after that, it turned out that Miles’ part was over, and we went on to the story of his friend Bing, I started to doubt that I wanted to continue.
I should say that I must have missed the page after the title page that said “Miles Heller”, otherwise I’d have realised that the whole book wouldn’t be about him (else his name wouldn’t be on the first part). So, I was a little put out that I now had to turn my attention to another person, that had appeared so far only in passing, and didn’t seem interesting at all.
If that was not enough, the part about Bing Nathan started in rather inaccessible writing. Like this:
He is the warrior of outrage, the champion of discontent, the militant debunker of contemporary life who dreams of forging a new reality from the ruins of a failed world.
Erm, OK! That’s just the first sentence of a number of pages like this and while I like good literary writing, I don’t like it too literary, to the effect that I have no idea what I’m reading (it’s the reason I’m not good with poems either).
So, this clinched the deal for me: I had seen enough of this book! Next, please!
I got this book: from the library
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 309 (I read about 75 pages)
First published: 2010
Genre: literary fiction