Customer Reviews for

Sunset Park

Average Rating 3.5
( 28 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted November 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Mesmerizing prose with angst at its core. Auster¿s skill as a writer somehow conveys all of the insecurities we feel as adults and reminds us that we are vulnerable, fragile individuals.

    Set during the 2008 economic collapse, this is a story of love, loss and regret and what it means to be a part of something; be it big or small. The story is mainly character-driven, no huge plot points to speak of, but after just a few pages, I found that I liked Miles quite a bit. He is technically, a good guy. A bit confused and struggling to find himself, but essentially good. Although my life experiences differ from his, I found that I could easily relate to what he was feeling at any given point. I attribute that to Auster¿s writing style. That said, I was completely taken aback by the ending. The ending was appropriate, but it was sudden. There I was, hanging on Auster¿s every word, and then poof, the novel ended. What occurred to me later is that although the novel ended, the story continued. Those characters are left to continue on with their lives and as a reader, all I could do was wish them well. I¿ve read one other Auster book, Invisible and I recall a similar feeling with that one, but I liked it very much and I can say the same for this one. Sunset Park wasn¿t at all what I expected it to be, but it was well worth the read and to be honest, it¿s nice to be surprised once in a while.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2010

    Intriguing

    First time reading Auster. While focusing on today's younger generation, it also adressed their relationship with the aging boomers. This writer has intrigued me, and I will try other books by him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2010

    A Good, Serious Novel

    I really liked this book and I'm not quite sure why.

    The story is simple. A man in his twenties has walked away from his family and from participating in his own life until he falls in love with an underage girl. A disparate group of people, each with his or her own quirks and problems, illegally live together in an abandoned house in Sunset Park. People nursing their own wounds cause pain in others. Nothing mysterious or suspenseful or surprising. All is tied together by the themes in the film The Best Years of Our Lives.

    So why did I like it so much? Perhaps the writing. Does this fall into that vague genre of "literary fiction"? Does that mean anything, or is it just that the writing can try too hard or be a bit pretentious as easily as it can be lyrical and poetic? And does the lack of quotation marks make it better or just harder to read? For me, the writing was often beautiful but occasionally annoying. There were a couple of small sections that I didn't like. I liked and cared about the characters and the events in their lives, they became real to me.

    I received an advance edition, so these quotes may not be the same in the published edition:

    "Does everyone live happily ever after?"

    "His rent is low, since he lives in a small apartment in a poor neighborhood, and beyond spending money on bedrock necessities, the only luxury he allows himself is buying books, paperback books, mostly novels, American novels, British novels, foreign novels in translation, but in the end, books are not luxuries so much as necessities, and reading is an addiction he has no wish to be cured of."

    How can any reader not relate to that?

    "Taking one of those pills is like swallowing a small dose of death. Once you start with those things, your days are turned into a numbing regimen of forgetfulness and confusion, and there isn't a moment when you don't feel your head is stuffed with cotton balls and wadded-up shreds of paper. She doesn't want to shut down her life in order to survive her life."

    ..."a head splitting open from the sheer force of the darkness within it, a life broken apart by the too-much and too-little of this world."

    Sunset Park is the first book I've read by this author, and I very much enjoyed it. A sample of the audio book, read by the author, was included. I appreciate a book that is read by the author because the meaning and the emphasis comes through the way that he intended. However, I prefer reading books rather than listening to them.

    I am grateful to the publisher for giving me an advance reader's edition of this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2011

    Interesting

    The story is captivating but I would really suggest that someone read it because of the writing style. Auster's tweeking of Stream-of-Consciousness writing is something that should be admired.

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  • Posted September 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A masterful sketch with no extra words

    The novel's characters are drawn with the swift, sure strokes of a master and are immediately accessible, and likeable. As it happens, I began reading this shortly after I'd begun Franzen's Freedom, on which I was struggling to concentrate. I am struck by the similarities and differences between the beginning of this book and Franzen's. Franzen's novel seemed an overstuffed suitcase, the contents of which we pick up in wonder and put back, curious how these vignettes will becme relevant in the long course of the story. Auster's story is more like a briefcase of a story, each item within it immediately obvious in its usefulness to us, the readers. The writing is spare, elegant, propulsive. The novels are similar in that they tell us of an American family, and a young person becomes an adult as we read. The descriptors echo, one book with another, but I had trouble grabbing hold of Franzen's, while Auster's grabbed ME and kept me up late into the night. Books on fiction writing often say we should "show" and not "tell," but strangely, I felt Franzen was showing and Auster was telling, which is one reason why Franzen's was longer, and more digressive. There seemed nothing extra in Auster's. Franzen's is simply a different style, and while I haven't finished it yet, I expect it will yield similar truths about the human condition. If I had one regret with Sunset Park, it is that we did not see more of Pilar, who, while the youngest person in the story, in the end was the most adult. She seemed extraordinary, and we wanted to see more of the woman who could make grown men laugh, cry, sigh, and lie.

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