by Sukey HowardMay, 2006
A Brooklyn boy returns
These days, most serious novels claim redemption as key to the narrative's resolution, yet that redemption is often contrived or elusive. Not so in Paul Auster's latest, The Brooklyn Follies. The narrator, Nathan Glass, a former insurance salesman, admitted lousy husband and indifferent father to his only daughter, with an iffy lung cancer prognosis, retires from his job and from life. Brooklyn, his birthplace, will be his last retreat and he'll fill his remaining days documenting all of his very human foibles and failings in a book of follies. When, after a few Brooklyn weeks, Nathan runs into his long-lost nephew, working in a local bookstore instead of working on his assumed-to-be brilliant dissertation, life begins to change with gathering speed, bringing Nathan back into the vibrancy of ordinary, everyday human dependency. He is redeemed, even happy, and listeners have heard a helluva good story. Auster, a wonderful reader of his own words, gives Nathan the voice he was meant to have.