(This is not the eagerly anticipated 3pm weekly post, but something I wrote in January and meant to turn into a long long piece before publishing. Think of it as your pre 3pm entree, but don’t get put off because it probably will mean little unless you’ve read any of Auster.)
The youthful quest for identity and meaning is literalised into the quest for survival and in doing so perhaps it resonates with my own romantic visions of being young and feeling alone in the world. The threat of starvation, living in a cave in Central Park, surviving by selling off secondhand books, the determination to do nothing all to save oneself – all exaggerated literalisations of my own early twenties, of being a student and then being unemployed for a time.
In relying on co-incidences as a major plot device and drawing meaning from parallels and intersections, Moon Palace seems to offer a fresh way of making sense of the world. Every narrative reduces the complexity of the world to a narrative logic of some order and coherence, but it’s the freshness of Auster which shines so brightly in this novel. Life seems full of the leaps and co-incidences and intersections out of which M.S. Fogg makes sense of life.
I love the way M.S. and Effing both give life meaning by setting themselves crazy projects. M.S. reading every book of Uncle Victor’s and in this way paying tribute to Victor’s life. Effing giving away to strangers the stolen money he found decades earlier. M.S. and Sol setting out to find the cave Effing hid in. I think reading this and echoes in other Auster’s works gave me a similar tendency from 2001 onwards.