Just read Auster’s Timbuktu, and, though it was nowhere near as good as Book of Illusions or Oracle Night, I still got into it, and enjoyed it… It’s strange, but Auster’s work seems to become a tad constricted when he uses a “non-dramatized” (third-person) narrator, as he does in this book. Usually, it’s the other way around. In the two more recent novels, David Zimmerman and Sidney Orr tell us about themselves in such a digressive way that, by the time they’re done, they’ve set so many storylines in motion that your mind is aswim. And swimming, as we all know, is good excercise (and low-impact too)… The upshot is that you don’t have to take any one stop as an end point, and there’s no real way to connect the dots the narrator throws at you…
Timbuktu is basically just an in-depth look at how “loyalty” (read–monomania inspired by “ontological terror”) works, and that’s fine, but I expect more from Auster than a new take on Diogenes’ dog-philosophy for the ninteties. I do agree with Mr. Bones (no, not the Infinity Inc. “Mr. Bones”, but I’ll be talking about him soon enough!) that “memory is a real place”–but goddamnit it’s not a place to retire to! It’s more like a stage upon which to enact new dramas! And the book’s final plunge into gnosticism really bugged me–all of a sudden you’re reading “The Little Match Dog”, and that’s not what I signed on for!
Hmm… speaking of the relative reality of non-spatial places– check out Father Tom’s look at Thomism & Time travel. Link via Josiah at Christus Victor, who has some thoughts of his own on these matters. Personally, I’m an “A-theorist” (although I am very interested in time travel to the past, as a literary device–unless it’s done poorly, as it almost always is…) More on this from me if I ever manage to get caught up on my sleep!
Good night friends