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Sunset Park: A Novel Hardcover – November 9, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Miles is 28 years old, and one day while sitting on the grass in a public park, reading The Great Gatsby (one of many iconic American cultural landmarks referenced in the book) he meets Pilar Sanchez, who happens to be reading the same novel. That bond connects them immediately, but there's one hitch to that connection. Pilar, though lovely, smart, and irresistible, is seventeen years old. That doesn't slow down Miles at all; he falls deeply in love with her.Read more ›
There are more sexual insights into the characters than in previous Auster novels. If such details elaborated and defined the narrative I could see his point for including them. But in this case it adds a seedy undertone that makes the reader feel more a party to gossip than a participant in an illuminating narrative. At one point a character who is a publisher toys briefly with the idea of publishing an artist's raunchy portfolio as a ploy to attract readers. I couldn't help wondering if Auster succumbed to the same subterfuge. Auster is a great writer. His work doesn't need such artless stimulants to boost sales.
On the plus side Auster gives brief but interesting views into the publishing world, the motivations of PEN and their work for Liu Xiaobo, as well as insights into the writer's life. Conversely he writes engagingly about baseball. It is these unconventional contrasts I enjoy most about Auster's work. The writing, as always, is excellent and despite its flaws is an effortless read.
This novel is less postmodern than his recent book Invisible. It focuses on debris: physical debris from trashed-out foreclosed homes in Florida that Miles Heller, a Brown University dropout, rescues through his camera lens. And mental debris that Miles wrestles with after a spontaneous action on his part results in an accidental death, causing him to flee from his New York family and live in self-imposed exile down south. A chance encounter with a high school student, Cuban-American Pilar Sanchez, while reading The Great Gatsby brings fleeting connection into his life for a few happy months. But Pilar is underage and he is soon forced to flee north to avoid family charges that could lead to jail time.
As a result of his return northbound trek, Miles moves in with the other characters that populate this book: four flat-broke twentysomethings who are struggling with issues of personal identity and past failures. Together, they illegally squat in an abandoned house in Brooklyn's Sunset Park, openly evading the government and awaiting the day when eviction will become a reality. Each has placed his or her life on hold while forestalling a crucial decision. In Miles case, he is awaiting the right time connect again with his father Morris, an independent publisher who is fighting the dissolution of both his business and marriage and has never quite given up that his son will eventually find his way back home.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a very good book. Well written. The story is addictive.Published 1 month ago by Antonia Ibarra
The book is a very accurate depiction of the social decay in contemporary American society. The young adult characters are faced with important decisions for their lives, but they... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Raimund Strauck
That would be the best way to describe the main character of this novel.
Miles Heller is really the central character in a book that often turns to other characters to tell... Read more
Can't remember because I read it a while ago and I get confused which book is which but I know I enjoyed it very much.Published on September 20, 2014 by Luciana Ondarts
PA certainly knows his way round Plot & Structure, elements so often missing from so-called novels nowadays. Read morePublished on September 12, 2014 by Zangiku
This doesn't sound like the Auster I knew\ loved to read...
I'm not so old fashioned however, the sexual description in the first chapter (or maybe it was the second... Read more