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Auster gets a whoopin’

December 7, 2009 | No Comments

Wise writers know never to read their reviews, but who can resist? So I sure hope Paul Auster (best known for his New York Trilogy) hasn’t sneaked a peak at James Wood’s take on his novels in the November 30th issue of The New Yorker; it’s been a long time since I’ve read such a forensic analysis of a writer’s flaws. Wood writes “Although there are things to admire in Auster’s fiction, the prose is never one of them…” (ouch!), before continuing to say that although Auster is probably America’s best known postmodern novelists, and postmodern novels are known for borrowed language and cinematic language, yet “he does nothing with cliche except use it” (yikes!) His stories are “assertions rather than persuasions” and “this is the crevasse that divides Auster from novelists like Jose Saramgo or Philip Roth” (kapow!) I’ve never read any of Auster’s books, and I’m now, frankly, terrified to pick one up lest it’s as bad as Wood asserts or that Wood himself may one day read one of my own….

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