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Nothing novel

New York author Paul Auster’s latest work tells an uplifting tale about modern American lives—which may help explain why it’s not terribly interesting

By William Skidelsky   December 2010

Sunset Park by Paul Auster, Faber (£16.99)

A somewhat idealised view of the artistic calling has long been a cornerstone of Paul Auster’s fiction. In this sense, his 16th novel doesn’t break the mould. Sunset Park centres on four characters in their late twenties who spend a brief period living together in a squat in the eponymous Brooklyn neighbourhood. All are creatively inclined: one is a part-time jazz drummer who also owns a hole-in-the-wall repair shop, the lyrically named Hospital for Broken Things; another is a depressed, sexually frustrated painter who spends much of her time working on drawings based…

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