niina.amniisia » bits, pieces and photos from sydney, australia and elsewhere

rambles and Auster’s new novel (Sunday September 22nd, 2002 - 23:55)

category: mmhuh?

Quite miserable that my PC has been broken for two weeks. I should have known better and made more regular backups because the Sony was so unreliable. In the past year I’ve rebuilt it about 6 times and all but one time been able to recover everything off my D drive. This time, no such luck. It froze and the disk became unrecognisable. So it’s at a repair shop but they don’t seem to be making progress so I may need to send it off to a specialist at significant cost. Not what I need when I’ve recently been made redundant!

The London days and nights are becoming chilly. Jacket weather. I should look for a nice big coat soon that I can snuggle in to while standing around on street corners waiting to meet people or sitting in parks reading (while I still can).

Richard and Phil (Platinum Skunk) played a gorgeous set on Saturday morning in Covent Garden on a nice professional stage organised by HMV. The sun was out for the duration and people stayed around for the set, tapping their feet, nodding their heads. Toddlers danced about. People took photographs. Once I get mine developed I’ll put some up. They looked the biz up there. Great presence, sweet memorable music. It was a good end to six months of gigging – they’re going to set up studio and record some tracks, returning to gig next year and I expect they’ll wow London.

I devoured Paul Auster’s new novel, the Book of Illusions, in two days this week because I couldn’t help myself. The story follows a man, David Zimmer, trying to cope with personal tragedy. Late one night watching television he chances upon Hector Mann, a silent film actor who disappeared suddenly in 1929 and was never seen again. His films had recently been anonymously delivered to film institutes across America, London and Paris and David Zimmer decides to watch each of them, becoming the first person to do so, and ends up writing a critique book to introduce the world to Hector Mann. After publication, he receives a letter from a woman claiming to be Mann’s wife, and saying that Hector would like to meet him.

The stories of the films suckered me in. Descriptions of Mann – his mustache, his face, his white suit – are superb and conjur up the slapstick comic actions in fierce clarity. Constant repertitions of love, loss and destruction create a sense of urgency to the novel and I almost shed a few tears during the reading.

Auster has thrilled me with his books numerous times. I wish I could remember who it was that turned me on to him – someone sent me an email years ago referring me to the Invention of Solitude, if my computer was working I could check who it was. I can’t really compare the Book of Illusions to the New York Trilogy, they’re distinctly different types of novels, but these two are currently my favourites by Auster.

Long may he live and write.

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