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Moon Palace by Paul Auster
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Moon Palace (1989)

by Paul Auster

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 115 mentions

English (26)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (4)  Catalan (3)  Korean (1)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Paul Auster è un autore che mi piace molto, tuttavia Moon Palace non mi ha presa per niente. L'ho trovato estremamente noioso, scritto in uno stile che non riconosco, pesante, pomposo, ridondante. Non sono riuscita ad empatizzare con i personaggi e in particolare col protagonista, con la sua determinazione a lasciarsi andare e a non prendere nessuna decisione per migliorare la sua vita, arrivando addirittura a vivere per strada pur di non prendere in mano la situazione e cercarsi un lavoro. Mi è sembrato un libro vecchio, polveroso, che fino all'ultima pagina mi ha lasciata col dubbio di dove andasse a parare (in effetti i romanzi di Auster generalmente non vanno a parare da nessuna parte, ma questo ha oltrepassato il limite). Non mi ha lasciato nulla, solo un grandissimo senso di noia. Per me è no. ( )
  lonelypepper | Feb 22, 2018 |
First sentence: "It was the summer that men first walked on the moon. I was very young then, but I did not believe there would ever be a future."

This opening utterly drew me in, as I, too, well remember the summer of 1969 (which I spent in Singapore) when men first walked on the moon.

Marco Stanley Fogg (MS) lost his mother in a tragic bus accident when he was 11 and never knew his father. His uncle, a traveling musician, raised him, and when he died left MS enough money to get through college. When the novel opens in 1969 as his graduation from college approaches, MS is mentally paralyzed and unable to do anything to move his life forward. After being evicted from his apartment, he sleeps in Central Park and eats food foraged from garbage cans until a couple of his friends rescue him, and nurse him back to a semblance of mental health.
MS is able to get a job as a companion to an elderly eccentric former artist, Thomas Effing. The focus of the novel then shifts to Effing, as he narrates the story of his life to MS (ostensibly so that MS can write his obituary), spanning the 20th century and moving from the Wild West to turn of the century San Francisco to Europe in the 1920's and back to New York City.
The overriding theme of the novel is that Effing has lost a son, as MS has lost (or never known) a father. Although the facts of the story Auster tells frequently seem incredible and there are several highly unlikely coincidences, Auster almost makes it work--almost, but not quite. I just couldn't wrap my head around some of the more unlikely coincidences in the stories of MS and Effing. One Amazon reviewer said there were "enough improbably coincidences to make Dickens blush." Despite this, I do have to say I enjoyed reading most of the story. And at least I've knocked off another book on the 1001 list.

2 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Mar 30, 2017 |
I came to Auster through a whole lot of coincidences; a few friends independently recommended him to me in the space of a few weeks and finding this in a second hand bookshop felt like destiny. Coincidence plays a large part in the unravelling of this story; characters are bound together by an unlikely web of threads and in consequence this world feels a touch smaller than it otherwise might have.

It feels like an attempt to write the Great American Novel, covering a grand sweep and attempting to define the culture, people and changes over that time – the story runs from the late nineteenth century to the 1980s and from New York to California and plenty of points in between. Auster’s prose is sumptuous and lithe, often providing the odd memorable phrase but overall enchanting the reader. It’s much needed too as the lead character, named for no less than three explorers which Auster points out in a very postmodern style, reminds me of an amalgam of my worst characteristics, a selfish dreamer who ultimately pushes the rest of the world away from him in one way or the other. M S Fogg’s selfishness renders him entirely believable but makes him deeply unattractive as a lead. Added to that the novel’s tremendously downbeat, with most characters suffering fairly gruelling ordeals and any happiness is fleeting. Still, despite the characters being unlovable and the acts of attempting to fulfil your dreams and discover yourself being painted as futile, Auster’s words and his ability to wring sympathy from Fogg and company mean I look forward to making his acquaintance again. ( )
  JonArnold | Jun 7, 2015 |
What a wonderful book!
At first, during the first chapters, I wondered how someone could react, act the way Marco did.
But then, gradually, his life story grabbed me, the appearance of unusual characters and I liked the book more and more. Until now, that I've read the last page, I close it with a kind of sadness. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Nov 18, 2014 |
MS Fogg, the protagonist in Moon Palace, is a student at loose ends in 1960s New York. He decides to try just sort of floating on the stream of life, with results that would have been predictable to anyone except a young man in his early twenties who's always been able to get along: he ends up homeless and starving. Pulling himself back from that through the help of an old friend and a woman he meets while looking for the aforementioned old friend, MS gets a job working for a Mr. Effing. Effing is a crotchety old man who is looking for someone to push him around on walks in his wheelchair, listen to his life story, and take the abuse that he occasionally hurls.

Although the characters are not all that compellingly drawn, one of Auster's themes did resonate with me, or I suppose more accurately, with my younger self: It takes more courage to live in the world and have relationships with your fellow humans than to strike out on your own and turn your back on everything. I think it's a phase we often go through when we're young, where we want to be defined by our ability to be detached, to look down on needing or liking anything. Most of us grow out of it.

I feel like the book contained a number of ideas I liked and some interesting story elements, but it didn't really coalesce into something completely successful. Some aspects of the plot strained credulity to the snapping point, and I'm not really sure all of those aspects were required to get the same points across. I hope Auster becomes less ham-fisted in his later works.

Recommended for: reformed misanthropes, people who *really* believe it's a small world, fans of coincidence

Quote: I'm talking about freedom, Fogg. A sense of despair that becomes so great, so crushing, so catastrophic, that you have no choice but to be liberated by it. ( )
  ursula | Aug 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Austerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bredsdorff, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Juan, MaribelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eulen, AnneliesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubió, MarcTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmitz, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Nothing can astound an American – Jules Verne
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for Norman Schiff – in memory
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It was the summer that men first walked on the moon.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Marco Stanley Fogg, an orphan of the sixties, travels from Manhattan to Utah in search of himself.

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