…is an absolutely fantastic novel. One of Paul Auster’s less well-known works, this little book may just be his best one (as far as I am concerned). Turning away from the all too recognizable obsession with postmodern philosophy bordering on the openly Derridean that characterized the New York Trilogy (which he pulls off admirably in City of Glass, yet slightly less so in the following two novels and which becomes somewhat of a nuisance in later novels such as The Music of Chance), with Last Things Auster has produced a novel that does not quite abandon the project of interrogating postmodern subjectivity, however, it represents it in a refreshingly original light. Plus, this post apocalyptic, quasi-epistolary novel is so beautifully crafted that one is willing to forgive occasional retreats into the poststructurally-inconsequential. Maybe it is the post apocalyptic genre that allows authors to construct images of heartbreaking beauty and anguish while representing our present at the same time in ways that are more poignant and more meticulous than those produced by straight-up realism. I only have very little time to write this, but if you like Paul Auster and if you also liked Octavia Butler’s Parable series, you will certainly fall in love with this remarkable little book (and also find a suprisingly substantial amount of food for political discussion). Just in terms of Auster’s bibliography: this novel follows the New York Trilogy and is succeeded by Moon Palace (it is hence part of Auster’s late-80s oeuvre).
***EDIT: wow, the Chicago Marathon turned into a catastrophe. I went outside at 8 this morning to watch it for an hour and already at that early point in the day felt for the runners, due to the heat. I just heard that they actually stopped the race after one death and more than 350 hospitalized runners (the numbers are still climbing). Here the story posted immediately after the cancellation, which includes several videos of the race and its aftermath (I assume the story will be updated and the numbers corrected): http://cbs2chicago.com/local/local_story_280071653.html