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Leviathan (original 1992; edition 2005)
by Paul Auster
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Leviathan begins when a woman finds an address book and steals a new identity. Or it begins with a sudden, violent death. Or it begins as Peter Aaron sits down to tell the story of his best friend, Benjamin Sachs - to take us, through a life, to the road in rural Wisconsin where Sachs has accidentally blown himself up. Aaron's sole aim is to tell the truth and preserve it, before those who are investigating the case invent a story of their own. Aaron's clues are the small mysteries of any lifetime. Sachs had a marriage Aaron envied, an intelligence he admired, a circle of friends he shared. And then suddenly, after a near-fatal fall that might or might not have been intentional, Sachs disappears. For a while, Aaron's only link to him is through Maria Turner, an artist, and the one witness to Sachs's balcony plunge. Periodically, Sachs reappears, talks manically, and vanishes again - in pursuit of mercy or salvation, in thrall to an idea. Since the first book in his brilliant and acclaimed "New York Trilogy," Paul Auster's "rare combination of talent, scope, and audacity" (The New Republic) has given us worlds in which chance and destiny collide, in which solitary protagonists take us on mysterious, soul-wrenching journeys unparalleled in contemporary fiction. His seventh novel is about friendship and betrayal, sexual desire and estrangement, and the unpredictable intrusions of violence in the everyday. Rooted in American mythology and archetype, Leviathan is both timeless and resolutely about this moment. It is a daring and immensely moving story by "one of America's most spectacularly inventive writers" (The Times Literary Supplement).
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