The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster

The Brooklyn Follies and I spent four glorious days together. I wish it would have lasted longer, but it had to end sometime. This is one of those books that took me in from the start. Paul Auster has this gift that makes me wish I could abandon all of my commitments and simply sit outside and read his books for days on end.

Brooklyn has long been known for the possibility of second chances since immigrants began flocking to New York in the late 1800's. It seems that this is a timeless curiosity, as Auster implies the borough still has this special hold on it's inhabitants. But here is the thing about The Brooklyn Follies, it's not a book I can summarize in a way that will draw you in unless I give the good parts away. So, you'll have to settle for the generalization that this novel is gracefully strange and compelling, so full of human truths, you can't help but connect with it.
When you've lived as long as I have, you tend to think you've heard everything, that there's nothing left that can shock you anymore. You grow a little complacent about your so-called knowledge of the world, and then, every once in a while, something comes along that jolts you out of your smug cocoon of superiority, that reminds you all over again that you don't understand the first thing about life.
Of the Auster I've read, this is my favorite. If you enjoy an interesting and suspenseful story with a deeper meaning behind it, you will certainly enjoy this book. If you identify with themes of redemption, second chances, and the power of human connections, then read this. There are also wonderful bookish details embedded throughout that I can't imagine any bibliophile would be disappointed with this novel.
She had the story, and when a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear. For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.
Publisher: Picador, 2006


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I think I hugged this book after I read it. Though it had some sad moments, I think it was a happy and life-affirming book at heart. Auster is one of my favorite living authors.

  2. You make this book sound SO tempting. I think I must!

  3. I have yet to read "THE BROOKLYN FOLLIES"however I have long been a fan of Paul Auster, "THE NEW-YORK TRIOLOGY" had me hooked.
    Thank-you for your review

  4. I have this, and some other Auster, on my shelves, but I have yet to read it. Thanks for the review.

  5. Like LBC, I have this one on my shelf. I'm staying with a friend in Brooklyn in July and this might be a great one to read right before I go!

  6. Wow, you liked it better than The New York Trilogy? Now that's interesting.....

  7. Mrs. B, I was suprised how uplifting the end was (in a way) considering it's not typical of Auster. So good.

    Constance, Do it!

    Madeleine, New York Trilogy is also a good ne.

    LBC, Pick them up soon! You'll like them.

    Melissa, Good idea!

    Ben, I did like it better than The New York Trilogy. They are quite different and even though I really liked NYT, I loved this one.

  8. This was fantastic! It's been awhile since I read it, but I still remember thinking how great the stories intersections, the idea that everyone (no matter how down and out) has a story, and that (as you say) everyone's story can have a redemptive twist. Really glad you enjoyed it, too!

  9. Greg, Did you review this one as well? I'm off to check...

  10. Thanks for the review. Brooklyn Follies is a very good read, but for me, the Book of Illusions is my favourite, closely followed by Oracle Nights.

  11. Read it, loved it, I'll review it soon. I'm so glad I read your review of it.