Rhonda Johnson
August 05, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Mr. Vertigo

Current Status
In Season
Paul Auster

We gave it an A

Paul Auster’s cult following might not be so exclusive once word of his electrifying eighth novel gets around. In Mr. Vertigo, the language crackles, the plot jumps, and the characters astonish in this tale of magic and loss, loneliness and exaltation. In the mid-1920s, 9-year-old Walt Rawley is begging on the streets of St. Louis when the mysterious Master Yehudi teaches him to fly. 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. Auster even sneaks in a character from his enigmatic The New York Trilogy, proving that in his most mainstream novel to date, this postmodernist is not above a few pranks himself. A

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