The Brooklyn Follies
In 'The Brooklyn Follies', Paul Auster's last novel, we meet Nathan, a middle-aged man who decides to go to Brooklyn to spend what will be the last of his days after being diagnosed with cancer. He has left his job as an insurance agent, and his wife had left him some time before. He does not have a good relationship with his only daughter and has few friends left. He finds himself, then, at a time in his life when death may appear on the horizon in any given moment. From here on, he must live his life differently. From here, he will decide to spend his time writing a book in which he tells of the lives of those he knows, or has known, and this will be centred on common lives - this is why it has become known as intrahistory. In Brooklyn he will bump into Tom, a nephew that he has not seen for some time, and with whom he will build a good relationship, as his link with this New York neighbourhood, and through whom he will meet a range of characters to fill his book, giving form to the novel itself. Auster, through independent stories which, at the same time, have one same meaning, creates a great novel where his desire to review current north american society is evident. This gains incredible strength in the last two pages, when the reader discovers that we have been in the twelve months preceding the terror attacks of 11th September 2001. Then, everything takes on a new shape and the novel can be understood in a different way. It was to be expected that Auster, sooner or later, would take these attacks as the focus of a fictional work, in the same way as Roth or DeLillo (who did it through essays), to mention two important examples within current north american narrative. However, Auster does not give us a political or politicised novel, although there are careful comments, but rather he concentrate on the day-to-day, the social, the emotional aspects, to give a vision of the people who make up a society, a city, a country.