Gregory Kirschling
August 18, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Man in the Dark

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Paul Auster
publisher
Henry Holt and Company
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

”There are many worlds,” says a minor character in Paul Auster’s foreboding latest, ”and they all run parallel to one another, worlds and anti-worlds, worlds and shadow-worlds…” He’s essentially describing the form of the Man in the Dark‘s feline narrative: In one thread, an ailing 72-year-old named Brill convalesces in Vermont; in the parallel and more eventful thread, a man named Brick wakes up in a dangerous dream — America currently in the middle of a 21st-century civil war. Both plots are propulsive, and if the big reveal at the end isn’t quite the gut punch you’ve been hoping for, Auster makes up for it with his usual elegant prose. He’s a master of voice, an avuncular confidence man who can spin dark stories out of air. B+

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