We’re very pleased to reveal a new regular feature here on keanemusic.com. Over the coming weeks and months, Tim will be telling us a little bit about some of his favourite books. If you folks then read them, feel free to let us know what you thought of them in the comments below. It’ll be like a Keane online reading group. And so to Tim’s first choice…
The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
I read this book in the summer of 2009, when I was staying in Brooklyn for a few weeks. It was given to me by our manager as a birthday present.
Paul Auster is a brilliant writer, who’s also written a couple of great films, but this was the first book of his that I’d read. I like stories that have a lot of different threads, which kind of intertwine as it goes on. And I also like ones that are quite psychological, in that they’ll be written in the first person and you’ll get a real insight into someone’s mind. With books like that, you really feel like you learn something about the way people think. And probably even about the way you think yourself. The Brooklyn Follies is definitely like that, but it’s also a really cracking story – it’s almost a thriller, I suppose, written in a way that’s very beautiful and powerful. I’ve always enjoyed books that are based on seemingly very ordinary people, like the retired insurance salesman at the centre of the Brooklyn Follies. The story explores dramas that could really happen to anyone, just through good luck or bad luck – and then looks at how those chance occurrences effect the way the characters act and think.
The book is set right in Park Slope which is where we were staying when we were over in Brooklyn. It was quite exciting knowing that I was walking along the same streets as I was reading about. The atmosphere of that particular community is a very important part of the book, and quite a lot of Auster’s books, as far as I can gather. So it was nice being able to picture the actual buildings that he was writing about and to almost feel like part of it. I think being in Brooklyn while I read it probably did help me to appreciate the book more. And I suppose, in a way, it helped me to appreciate Brooklyn more too. The story helped give a sense of it being a real place, full of real people, rather than just a tourist destination.
I absolutely loved it. I read the whole thing in about two days, which is very quick for me, as I’m a very slow reader normally. And I’ve since acquired a huge pile of all his other books. I’m very much looking forward to working my through them.