The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
A Novel

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Synopsis

From the bestselling author of Oracle Night and The Book of Illusions, an exhilarating, whirlwind tale of one man's accidental redemption

Nathan Glass has come to Brooklyn to die. Divorced, estranged from his only daughter, the retired life insurance salesman seeks only solitude and anonymity. Then Nathan finds his long-lost nephew, Tom Wood, working in a local bookstore--a far cry from the brilliant academic career he'd begun when Nathan saw him last. Tom's boss is the charismatic Harry Brightman, whom fate has also brought to the "ancient kingdom of Brooklyn, New York." Through Tom and Harry, Nathan's world gradually broadens to include a new set of acquaintances--not to mention a stray relative or two--and leads him to a reckoning with his past.
Among the many twists in the delicious plot are a scam involving a forgery of the first page of The Scarlet Letter, a disturbing revelation that takes place in a sperm bank, and an impossible, utopian dream of a rural refuge. Meanwhile, the wry and acerbic Nathan has undertaken something he calls The Book of Human Folly, in which he proposes "to set down in the simplest, clearest language possible an account of every blunder, every pratfall, every embarrassment, every idiocy, every foible, and every inane act I had committed during my long and checkered career as a man." But life takes over instead, and Nathan's despair is swept away as he finds himself more and more implicated in the joys and sorrows of others.
The Brooklyn Follies is Paul Auster's warmest, most exuberant novel, a moving and unforgettable hymn to the glories and mysteries of ordinary human life.

 

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 April 1, 2007 by Henry Holt and Co.. 324 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Brooklyn Follies

Kirkus Reviews

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Nathan’s nephew Tom Wood has forsaken a promising academic career, gone to seed and settled for an unrewarding job at Brightman’s Attic, a used bookstore run by “born prankster” Harry Dunkel (aka Brightman), a gay art and manuscript forger who, during impassioned bull sessions with Tom and Nathan...

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The New York Times

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When a novel's main character introduces himself by announcing that his life is over and he's crawling under a shady porch to die - or at least to convalesce in peace - experienced readers can sense what's coming, roughly.

Jan 08 2006 | Read Full Review of The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel

The Guardian

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" As indeed in Auster's parallel meta-text, although this is rather prolix by his previously austere standards ("How could he think when his mind had been turned into an open wound, a suppurating mass of scrambled brain matter, exploded neurons, and short-circuited electrical impulses?").

Nov 19 2005 | Read Full Review of The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel

The Guardian

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The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster Faber £16.99, pp304 'I am not normally prone to bouts of self-pity', comments Nathan Glass, the narrator of Paul Auster's latest novel, The Brooklyn Follies.

Nov 20 2005 | Read Full Review of The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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But the book's presiding spirit is Brooklyn's first bard, Walt Whitman, as Auster embraces the borough's multitudes—neighborhood characters, drag queens, intellectuals manqué, greasy-spoon waitresses, urbane bourgeoisie—while singing odes to moonrise over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Oct 10 2005 | Read Full Review of The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel

Book Reporter

At the book's heart, however, is the tension between Glass's cynicism about the world --- revealed in his musings on the pratfalls and foibles of mankind --- and his fierce loyalty to those closest to him.

Dec 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel

USA Today

It's filled with literary allusions, including Thoreau and Melville, but it's not pretentious.It celebrates the ethnic neighborhoods of Brooklyn: "New York, and yet not New York" and "her strong Brooklyn accent ...

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PopMatters

During the first week of October 2001, the satirical news Web site, The Onion, had a notable front-page headline that now pretty neatly sums up the Sturm und Drang of the immediate post-9/11 era: “A Shattered Nation Longs to Care about Stupid Bullshit Again.” The accompanying faux news story ribb...

Feb 20 2006 | Read Full Review of The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel

The Millions

Every time there’s a new Auster novel out, I think it may be different, and I give him a chance, and soon find I’m back in the usual territory: identity puzzles, murky timelines, ominous danger.

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Bookmarks Magazine

… It seems that Auster … can’t waste time on minor matters of technique when what he has to tell us about the human condition is so important."

Aug 28 2007 | Read Full Review of The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel

Military.com

Zimmer's historical trauma is the loss of his wife and children in a plane crash, and like Hector, he has engaged in the compulsive acting out of his trauma, taking on projects that keep him working obsessively with the reminders of silence, loss, and death: a study of Hector's fi lms, a translat...

Oct 16 2009 | Read Full Review of The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel

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