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Moon Palace (Contemporary American Fiction) Paperback – Deckle Edge, April 1, 1990

103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Marco Fogg, loner and dreamer, is forced from his Manhattan apartment and roams Central Park as a vagrant until he is rescued by gentle Kitty Wu. "The moon as a poetic and planetary influence over earthly affairs runs as a theme, wittily ransacked, throughout this elegant fiction," said PW .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

"It was the summer that men first walked on the moon. I was very young back then, but I did not believe there would ever be a future." Yet this novel deals precisely with the future that protagonist Marco Stanley Fogg seems to doubt the most: his own. We see Marco through several quite remarkable years, during which he nearly starves himself to death out of poverty and dejection, is rescued by a beautiful Chinese girl named Kitty Wu, and ends up as the live-in helper to an invalid old man, the recording of whose life story becomes Marco's obsession and the focus of the novel. Indeed, the old man's tale eventually becomes Marco's, spiraling into one big center where everything and everyone is (literally!) related. The novel's fantastic quality can be hard to swallow, and some of the action is maddeningly distant, but it's interesting, worthwhile reading.
- Jessica Grim, NYPL
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (April 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140115854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140115857
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Travels in the Scriptorium, The Brooklyn Follies, and Oracle Night. I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project anthology, which he edited, was also a national bestseller. His work has been translated into thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 68 people found the following review helpful By vanishingpoint on October 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Typical Auster: strong line writing, well-defined characters, coincidence-heavy plot, a nonexistent ending. The latter two separates Auster from the pool of countless other "literary" authors. Nobody else has Auster's uncanny ability to evoke the desperation of loneliness.

This is a strange novel, but if you've read Auster before, it's going to feel as familiar as that pillow you sleep under every night. There's this guy named M.S. Fogg, he's an orphan, and all sorts of crazy things happen to him, some by his doing, some by coincidence. The density of Auster's plot is staggering; the entire story of Effing, a character Fogg meets, could easily have been another book. That whole section almost reads like a Reader's Digest version of a bigger book, but I didn't mind at all. I don't mind efficiency when it's done right.

Don't expect much from the ending. It just is. If you expect a nice tidy package at the end, you're gonna be disappointed. Just take it for what it is.

This is my third Auster, already having read "In the Country of Last Things" and "The New York Trilogy." I love them all. I'm also a fan of Haruki Murakami, and I highly recommend you check out his books if you like Auster. They have striking similarities: both tend to utilize an unsure unwilling first person voices (faux noir, almost), work with weird plots, have coincidences aplenty, and have nonstandard endings.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 1997
Format: Paperback
In search of a good mystery I went to the Edgar Awards to find an author with whom I was unfamiliar. The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster was unavailable, so I picked up Moon Palace instead.
I finished the book in one sitting. It seems to be more than a novel or stories strung together to tell a tale, but rather a grouping of real and beautiful pictures orchestrated with words. There is a sense of loss at its end, as if people you have known are now, once more beyond reach. It is one of those books that you wish you had only just begun, or that it was three times longer in length.
I'll go back to the book and read it again and I will read the rest of Auster's work.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Christopher A. Smith on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of Auster's strongest works. Moon Palace is difficult to summarize, and it would almost be easier to use a Venn diagram or a chronogram to describe the plot than to try to put it in words. Roughly speaking, the novel covers the curious life of M.S.Fogg, from his youth as an orphan to his strange days as a Columbia University graduate to his experience as caretaker of the eccentric Thomas Effing.
But the novel is actually a series of stories and antecedents, all woven together through a tangled web of improbable coincidences and interactions. Many of the sections are virtually self contained. The tale of Fogg's inward retreat as an undergraduate culminating in his descent into homelessness in itself could be a well formed short story or novella. Likewise Effing's bizarre tale of adventure in the wilderness of Utah is story in itself. The links between these sections are a haphazard series of coincidences and connections, some which are seemingly intentionally suspect.
Perhaps one of the most interesting stories-within-a-story literally *is* a story - Fogg's summary of a book written by Effing's long lost son, who in my opinion is one of the most interesting characters in the book.
Auster's eye for detail and appreciation for the absurd is in top form in Moon Palace. More than one passage made me laugh out loud. This isn't conventional humor, Auster amuses through his sheer audaciousness - he is an author that takes risks and the reader appreciates this.
The characters are an interesting mix. I found Effing to be fascinating, and his unpredictability largely mirrors the unpredictability of the novel itself, but he ultimately reads much like a caricature.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Hooshyar on October 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I don't have much to really say about Auster, as I don't really like to overanalyze to anyone but myself, but he's one of my favorite authors, and this is actually one of my favorite books of his. Well, almost all of them are my favorite books of his.

Auster has a fabulous way of leaving you feel at unease, unsettled, and almost always absolutely alone. This is a book of books, from MS's initials, to his uncle's gift, to his relationships almost always defined in some way by words, so if you like... stories that leave you basically feeling weird, Paul Auster's your dude, and this is a great novel to start with.

Basically, all these reviews sound like intense intellectual reviews, and I just figured people should realize that these books aren't just for people that sound like they write reviews and analyze things for a reason. Anyone can enjoy Auster and the significance of his writing, understand his themes (the quest for identity is one of the most common themes in just about anything) and storylines, and I hope my review helps people from getting scared off! One of my favorite things about Auster is the concise manner in which he writes, which can feel sterile at times, but makes the read a lot less intimidating.
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