Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster

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Synopsis

Paul Auster, the New York Times-bestselling author of The New York Trilogy presents a dazzling, picaresque novel set in the late 1920s – the era of Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, and Al Capone. Walter Claireborne Rawley, renowned nationwide as "Walt the Wonder Boy," is a Saint Louis orphan rescued from the streets by a mysterious Hungarian Jew, Master Yehudi, who teaches Walt to walk on air. Master Yehudi brings Walt into a Kansas circus troupe consisting of Mother Sioux and Aesop, a young black genius. The vaudeville act takes them across a vast and vibrant country, through mythic Americana where they meet and fall prey to sinners, thieves, and villains, from the Kansas Ku Klux Klan to the Chicago mob. Walt's rise to fame and fortune mirrors America's own coming of age, and his resilience, like that of the nation, is challenged over and over and over again.
 

About Paul Auster

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Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Invisible, Man in the Dark, 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 a national bestseller. His work has been translated into thirty-five languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. 
 
Published August 1, 1994 by Penguin Books. 298 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Mr. Vertigo

Kirkus Reviews

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Walter's levitations were no sham, but a carefully nurtured talent developed by the mysterious Master Yehudi, a Hungarian Jewish impresario who discovered Walter on the streets of St. Louis at age nine.

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Publishers Weekly

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It will come as no surprise to the gifted Auster's ( Moon Palace ; The Music of Chance ) many fans that walking on air, the implausible premise of his marvelously whimsical seventh novel, is treated w

Aug 01 1994 | Read Full Review of Mr. Vertigo

The New York Times

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Master Yehudi takes Walt to an isolated farmhouse in Kansas -- a land as strange as Oz to Walt -- where Walt is taught to float in the air while a black boy called Aesop has his prodigious mind educated so, Yehudi says (without apparent irony on anyone's part, even Paul Auster's), he might become...

Aug 28 1994 | Read Full Review of Mr. Vertigo

Publishers Weekly

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(Also influencing Walt's life is classy, henna-headed Marion Witherspoon, a seductive mom figure from Wichita.) After harsh training, Walt tours with his mentor as ``the Wonder Boy,'' aka Mr. Vertigo.

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Entertainment Weekly

His transformation into Walt the Wonder Boy — and the tragic events that turn him into Mr. Vertigo — make for a great American quest tale, enlivened by the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Mob, the Kansas Ku Klux Klan, Babe Ruth, and Charles Lindbergh.

Aug 05 1994 | Read Full Review of Mr. Vertigo

The Independent

The unlikely Pilgrim, here, is Walt, a fly and grubby urchin on the mean streets of 1930s St Louis, who is talent-spotted by the black-clad Master Yehudi - is he mage or conman?

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The Independent

It seems a ludicrous bargain, yet the Master succeeds, though it is Auster who performs the real magic, creating a narrative both thrilling in its intricacies and intriguing in its depths.

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