By Elisa Fernández
This novel takes place during the months previous to the terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001 and the last paragraph of this book refers to this date. From my point of view the reference to this moment is essential for the story because it is a premonition that the world might change after this event.
According to the main idea, Auster tries to take a step back, it seems that the main characters remind us of the stars of the white and black films in the fifties, that past time when relationships and a sense of community made more sense than nowadays.
The thread of this book is Nathan Glass, the cynic and experienced Uncle Nat, a 59-year-old retired insurance salesman, divorced, with a stormy relationship with his daughter Rachel and in remission from a lung-cancer. He comes back to Brooklyn where he was born and, as he says, a good place to die. In order to fill his days he starts to write a book about the mistakes, embarrassments and mishaps accomplished by himself and other human beings. His project is titled ‘The Book of Human Folly’.
But the fate involves him in other lives in an insistent role of chance and coincidence: he meets his honest nephew Tom, his niece Aurora and her stubborn daughter Lucy, who together with other characters, represent a wide range of problems and feelings. He helps them by giving advice, lending money, providing with accommodation. He tries to rebuild their lives in order to get the happiness that they deserve.
To sum up, the book gives a positive atmosphere and confidence to overcome their and your own troubles. Consequently, I recommend this book deeply, especially for let-down and disappointed souls.
In spite of its wide range of vocabulary, plenty of slang American terms, this addictive story is easy to read and follow from the first page.