Entertainment :: Books

Day/Night: Two Novels

by Daniel Scheffler
Contributor
Friday Nov 15, 2013
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For the first time in one volume, here are two great classics by the ever interesting and American hero Paul Auster - "Day/Night". The consisting two, "Travels in the Scriptorium" and "Man in the Dark," were both critically celebrated and propelled the career of this New York author. Known for his usage of existentialism and absurdism, both these novels delve deep into these themes - at times deeper than expected.

"Travels in the Scriptorium" and "Man in the Dark" are said to mirror each other and are to be read in tandem and so this collection makes that ever so easy. In the 2007 novel, "Travels in the Scriptorium" elements from most past Auster novels converge as an old man is disoriented with no memory about who he is or how he has arrived where he is. In the 2008 "Man in the Dark" the narrative is of an aging journalist reflecting on his family and the death of his wife. Two seemingly very closely related ideas of man, and a representation of man’s ability to reflect or to forget. Or are these just two stories about loss and loneliness you may ask.

Together these novels almost read better than apart.

Auster is often criticized for being overly self-indulgent, an unfair and rather icy comment to describe a man who has written books in the double digits and has certainly given voice to Brooklyn before Brooklyn was what it is now, thanks to Jay-Z. "Travels in the Scriptorium" is thinner than his other novels and he manages to wrap up the story faster than you want him to. It’s not as full as his great oeuvre "The Brooklyn Follies." "Man in the Dark" is different again; it’s almost Sci-Fi short and ventures into the deeper realms of Auster’s thinking - somewhere more political and self-righteous.

Together these novels almost read better than apart. You want enough as to explore this experiential kind of fiction, or as it has been called meta-fiction, fully. Auster allows you just that in the double pack. Is it truly day or night is then the question, perhaps night/night would have had a more appropriate ring to it.

"Day/Night"
Paul Auster
$11.92
Picador

by Paul Auster

Daniel Scheffler is a writer who spends his time in New York, Cape Town and India. Follow him on Twitter @danielscheffler

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