Apparently I’ve been living in some alternate universe, one where the impending arrival of a new Auster book completely escapes my notice until a scant few weeks before release day. Seems promising:
Man In the Dark is Paul Auster’s brilliant, devastating novel about the many realities we inhabit as wars flame all around us.
Seventy-two-year-old August Brill is recovering from a car accident in his daughter’s house in Vermont. When sleep refuses to come, he lies in bed and tells himself stories, struggling to push back thoughts about things he would prefer to forget — his wife’s recent death and the horrific murder of his granddaughter’s boyfriend, Titus. The retired book critic imagines a parallel world in which America is not at war with Iraq but with itself. In this other America the twin towers did not fall and the 2000 election results led to secession, as state after state pulled away from the union and a bloody civil war ensued. As the night progresses, Brill’s story grows increasingly intense, and what he is so desperately trying to avoid insists on being told. Joined in the early hours by his granddaughter, he gradually opens up to her and recounts the story of his marriage. After she falls asleep, he at last finds the courage to revisit the trauma of Titus’s death.
Passionate and shocking, Man In the Dark is a novel of our moment, a book that forces us to confront the blackness of night even as it celebrates the existence of ordinary joys in a world capable of the most grotesque violence.