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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    The Brooklyn Follies

    Jobless, divorced and nearly cancer-free, Nathan Glass has come to Brooklyn to die.

    “”The Brooklyn Follies”” chronicles Nathan’s life as he spends his days peacefully walking around town, flirting with the Puerto Rican waitress at the Cosmic Diner, collecting assorted slips of the tongue (chilled greaseburger rather than grilled cheeseburger) and hanging around the local used bookstore.

    It’s at this bookstore that Nathan happens to run into his long-lost nephew, Tom. Once a bright English graduate student, Tom has deteriorated into a fat and lonely nobody. This propels Nathan into the rest of the world where he meets a myriad of colorful characters, ranging from Tom’s ex-convict, half-gay boss to his seemingly mute niece, who shows up on his doorstep one sunny morning.

    The vast majority of the story is told in histories of these people, background of the heartbreak that has led them all eventually to Brooklyn. The dialogue seems a little stilted at times, but luckily the majority of the story rides on the narration of Nathan, who creates compelling ideas and images with the words of great authors of yesteryear.

    The point of this book is the constant follies of life, and author Paul Auster has them down to a depressing science. Life’s good for a while, but it always manages to turn around. The book makes several illustrations of an “”inner refuge, the place a man goes to when life in the real world is no longer possible,”” and that’s exactly what books are good for: a few hours of relief in a stressful world.

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