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Ebook The Red Notebook by Paul Auster read! Book Title: The Red Notebook
The author of the book: Paul Auster
Edition: Faber & Faber
Date of issue: 1996
ISBN: 0571174337
ISBN 13: 9780571174331
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 511 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.1

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Vintage Auster: the man in miniature. Occasionally mawkish, occasionally so precise it takes your breath away, a kind of balancing act where every action is at once banal and loaded with meaning, like a sort of weird combination of Chekhov and Guy de Maupassant: O Henry stories without the trick endings, or as if the story was all trick. The back cover calls this "a singular kind of ars poetica, a literary manifesto without theory," which is true enough. Because the pieces in this book are so short -- the book itself is about the size of a mass-market paperback, but much thinner, and most of the stories vary in length from three or four pages to just one -- the dreamlike quality which in Auster's longer works can seem twee or forced works here to great effect. Dreams are the result of the mind struggling to make connections between seemingly random memories, images, perceptual chunks, wishes, God knows what thrown off by the brain as we lie physically paralyzed, beyond touch and sound, reduced to visions and the attempts to connect those visions (this is why dreams seem so choppy and surreal -- most of them are apparently three or four "mini-dreams" stitched together). Auster's thesis here is apparently that just as our minds try to do this in dream-time, so they do it with random, unconnected elements of life, at once as banal and loaded with meaning as a dream where you see a childhood friend and they offer you a candy bar you can't eat (because in a dream, you are cut off from taste; in your mind, you are cut off from the sweetness of childhood, the easy emotional connections of a child, you wake up with the memory of untasted, untastable chocolate in your mind and are moody until coffee).

In these stories, prison guards turn into father-in-laws, brothers into husbands, a dead child into a kind of sacrificial double. One man grows up with his mother, hearing her version of his childhood and his father; by utmost chance, he finds his father again, and hears the predictable reverse of his mother's story: in his father's narrative, she was the monster. Auster writes: "C.'s life had now become two lives. There was Version A and Version B, and both of them were his story. He had lived them both in equal measure, two truths that canceled each other out, and all along, without even knowing it, he had been stranded in the middle." As a child, Auster had rescued a friend of his sister's from being crushed under the wheels of his father's car: "For years afterward, I walked around feeling that this had been my finest moment. I had actually saved someone's life, and in retrospect I was always astonished by how quickly I had acted, by how sure my movements had been at the critical juncture. I saw the rescue in my mind again and again...." Inevitably, when he meets her again fifteen years later, " was clear that she remembered nothing....She hadn't even known that she was in danger. The whole incident had taken place in a flash: ten seconds of her life, an interval of no account, and none of it had left the slightest mark on her. For me, on the other hand, those seconds had been a defining experience, a singular event in my internal history."

But the final trick of that story, concealed from the audience by the misdirection of separate but equal perspectives, is its last paragraph, which has the same impact as realizing both that the childhood friend in your dream is eternally now, here with you in your mind, and that you will never see him again; that even the child who appears in the dream is not the child you knew, just as you could not taste the offered chocolate. "Most of all," Auster writes, "it stuns me to acknowledge that I am talking about something that happened in 1956 or 1957 -- and that the little girl of that night is now over forty years old." Time is the fifth dimension in which we live, and dream, and lose, against which we shore fragments of meaning to shield ourselves from the ceaseless rain of atoms: Then, the phone rang and it was her. They had grown up in the same building without knowing it. One second later, it would have been me.

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Ebook The Red Notebook read Online! Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Report from the Interior, Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, the Prix M√©dicis √Čtranger, the Independent Spirit Award, and the Premio Napoli. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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