Man in the Dark

man in the dark book coverI know that most of you have not finished reading "Man in the Dark" yet.  So, don’t panick.  This is just a post to invite you to start working on the novel, so that we can start discussing about it in class. 

The following video (pretty long, don’t get shocked!) shows you Paul Auster reading different excerpts from his latest novel.  At the end there are some questions he answers.  I would love you to listen to the questions and take notes of the answers.  If you have not started reading the novel, it would be nice for you to flick through the pages of the book guided by Paul Auster’s voice.  If you have already finished the book, then you can skip the reading of the excerpts and get directly to the interview.


Paul Auster’s new novel, Man in the Dark, evokes the state of insomnia convincingly.
In 2007, the 72-year-old August Brill lies awake at his daughter’s house in Vermont. Theirs is "a house of grieving wounded souls": Brill has lost his wife of many decades to cancer and has shattered a leg in a recent car crash; his daughter Miriam is 47 and divorced; his granddaughter Katya is 23 and also recently bereaved: they all sleep, or try to sleep, alone.  To distract himself from thinking about his personal pain, or his family’s, Brill tells himself a story about a parallel world in which America is at war not with terror, but with itself.  In this alternative America, the Twin Towers are still standing and there is no conflict in Iraq, but 16 states have seceded from the federation since George W Bush’s presidential victory in 2000. New York City has been bombed, more than 80,000 have died, and the country is being torn apart by civil war.   

Brill’s protagonist is Owen Brick, a young man who wakes up in a hole in the ground to find himself transported between Americas: "Brill hears machine guns, exploding grenades, and under it all, no doubt miles away, a dull chorus of howling human voices.

"This is war, he realises, and he is a soldier in that war, but with no weapon at his disposal, no way to defend himself against attack, and for the first time since waking up in the hole, he is well and truly afraid." 

Auster employs familiar post-modern techniques to mirror the crazy logic of nightmares. Brick is told by another character in the story that he can stop the war if he finds Brill and kills him: the civil war is only happening because a disgruntled old man is thinking it up.

"He sits in a room all day writing it down, and whatever he writes comes true. The intelligence reports say he’s racked with guilt, but he can’t stop himself. If the bastard had the guts to blow his brains out we wouldn’t be having this conversation."

Brill distracts himself with only partial success. His thoughts keep drifting back to his dead wife and suffering daughter and granddaughter. By day he watches films, one after another, with Katya, who was a film studies student before her bereavement. man in the dark book cover 2

Lying awake, Brill replays their conversations about Tokyo Story and other classics. These interludes are light relief for the reader: Auster on film is diverting and interesting. But then the nightmare returns. "Think dark, then, and go down into it, see it through to the end."

Towards dawn, Katya arrives in her grandfather’s room and they lie next to one another talking frankly about his life.

He wonders if the intimate details are too much to share. She tells him no, "It’s my fault. I’ve turned this into Truth Night at Castle Despair, and now that we’ve started, we might as well go all the way."

What they don’t talk about, can’t talk about, is the internet video of Katya’s husband’s gory execution in Iraq.

All three occupants of the house watched it together because they felt they owed the victim of violence that much, "so as not to abandon him to the pitiless dark that swallowed him up".
The pages ooze with an audible cry of pain.  As we saw in other of his works, the writer knows that solidarity and companionship in sorrow and sleeplessness are the best there is to hope for.paul auster photo
Out of what you have read and listened to, think of three questions you would like to ask Pual Auster about the novel "Man in the Dark".
Which book cover do you like better?  Why?
Since this blog is not meant for you only guys, I thought of posting a short excerpt of the novel, so that anybody visitig this blog can have a "taste of it!".
Questa voce è stata pubblicata in Paul Auster. Contrassegna il permalink.

49 risposte a Man in the Dark

  1. anonimo scrive:

    Guarino Ilaria

    before making any questions I would like to focus on the video we are ment to watch.First of all i find that the reading of the book made by the author himself has been very deep and involving.The questions posed by the student after the reading were very interesting.In the question about cinema and the kind of approach Auster has with it the writer said that even if the movie was a positive experience for him where he got to know and coolaborare with many people writing remains far higher.Film and cinema are only a “funny buisness”,a wonderful illusion.Film seems to be real but “is the biggest fake in the world.”Film is not flowing as a book.It is only make seens in cuts.Instead of this novel is “uncinematic as any fiction possible”.The book takes you into another dimension where you can see touch feel.In all his books Auster tells us life in a “fantastic” way,he gave us often unrealistic,supernatural aspect. and probabely most of the people who read more than one or two books could maybe think that is a sort of obsession to write about “strange” things.But the solution is very simple.Reality is more bizare than imagination.As Auster reply to this question he declare he is inspired by life that is strange and unpredictable.He tries to embraces bizare things as a reflection of a state of mind.For this reasons lots of his books seems to be quite the same but if we read carefully we will find in each a different meaning or a meaning that,adding to the others,enriches them.Many books tempt or want to restore the reality.But reality is not normal.As a writer Paul Auster and his novel are criticizes.The way that the writer face them is ignore them.A writer does not write fot the critic.Anyway people can say whatever they want nce the book is published!

    My personal questions that i wolud like to ask Paul Auster about the novel “man in the Dark”are:

    Why he decides to somehow “support” the main character August Brill with the figure of two women?

    Does he really think in the possibility of a real civil war in the USA?

    What kind of relationship does he has with the character August Brill?is a sort of his litterary tranposition?

    Personally i prefer the cover with the pale moon and the “scenery” that is not completely lit.In my opinion represents the state of darkness, mental confusion in which, however, there is still a faint hope(moonlight).

  2. anonimo scrive:

    Dear Ilaria,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. You have been very thorough and detailed. I can see that you like working on this blog. I can see your enthusiasm and your drive. Well done.

    Your teacher of English

  3. anonimo scrive:

    “Man in the Dark” is really a cry of pain and protest. This novel can be seen in two ways: as a superb metafictional novel, where narrations are continuously woven -without creating an indistinct tangle- with a mathematical precision, or as a terribly real and disturbing dystopic story.

    Auster starts his novel from very plausible assumptions: the life of August Brill is seriously disturbed by the death of his wife, by the separation between her daughter and her husband and, above all, by the horrible death of his granddaughter’s boyfriend, decapitated live on TV by Muslim terrorists while he was in Iraq as a soldier, a fact inspired by a event really happened a few years ago, and that is the first accuse that the author makes to what is strongly criticized in the novel and that is paradoxically the cause of part of it: the Bush administration.

    Beside reality there is the story within the story: the civil war after the controversial elections of 2000. Auster takes us into a kind of “what would have happened if …”, in a world where the events that led to Operation Enduring Freedom have never happened, where America has not undertaken a “wrong” war; nothing is happened. The problem is that this scenario is even more distressing, tragic: there is war, and it is fought in the streets; New York, not Kabul, is bombed and there are dead, and there are 80,000 of them. It is a world even more ugly than the real one, the microcosm of America is torn by a bloody conflict that can be compared to operations in Middle East. What happens is reflected in the real world, where so many American boys are dead, and the hands of America are bloodstained by something that could be avoided. And, the author says, the responsability is of only one thing: the arrival of President Bush.

    The story of real life is enriched by events that portray the characters talking about classic films (The Bicycle Thief, Auster’s favourite movie); that show a peculiarity in Auster’s fiction, that is to insert in his works always parts of himself. But even in the most relaxed, calm moments, something threatens, something that becomes clear at night, and that is showed as insomnia. And it is insomnia – full of meaning in “Man in the Dark”- that unites August Brill and Paul Auster: the awareness of a life irreparably undermined by pain and suffering, and the awareness of a forever wounded nation, with the hands stained with the blood of many innocent boys, sent to die in a horrible way for a fictitious freedom. And to escape from this world of suffering and darkness (“Man in the Dark”) there is who invents stories, to imagine a different world without terrorism and war. But the situation is even worse, death still lies in ambush and violence is spreading, the world has not changed. Imagination can’t help, and even seeking refuge in culture or in the real and wonderful film’s stories. The only thing to do is to sit down and face reality and its tragedy, face that thick and black darkness from which it seems to be no way out. A darkness where weak and disturbing noises -such as a continuous crying- continue without interruption, where you cannot sleep: you are not allowed. The book is a cry that wants to say “Why all this pain”, but it does not rail against anyone, but is a subtle and intelligent criticism of the tragic absurdity and contradictions of a system, of an era, of a dark page in American history. And part of America -the cover of the American edition explains it very well- is forever dead, and continues to die while Auster writes. But the most important thing is to continue believing, hoping, and not to die intellectually and be swallowed by darkness, and shouting words of a song that clearly show this thought: America, the beautiful.

    Raggiotto Francesco

  4. anonimo scrive:

    I really appreciate this Paul Auster’s reading of his book “Man in the dark”. It was very involving because he succeeded in creating a particular atmosphere, in fact it seems that I was a part of the book, as if I was August Brill. I found very interesting the questions of the boys, who were there, in particular the first one that concerns his approach with the cinema to which he answers:>.

    Then he says that writing novels is a kind of rolling, going underneath 3 dimensions: he tastes things, he smells things, and there aren’t lots of dialogue in his novels. Paul Auster also makes a distinction between films and novels:>. Then he says that he is inspired by life when he writes :>.

    Thanks to this video I understand some particular things about Paul Auster’s thoughts. The question about the cinema is interesting because now I know his relationship with films.

    I prefer the cover with the moon and the darkness because the title “man in the dark” stands for the unknown and for the confusion of humanity.

    Santarossa Barbara

  5. anonimo scrive:

    Santarossa Barbara

    I really appreciate this Paul Auster’s reading of his book “Man in the dark”. It was very involving because he succeeded in creating a particular atmosphere, in fact it seems that I was a part of the book, as if I was August Brill. I found very interesting the questions of the boys, who were there, in particular the first one that concerns his approach with the cinema to which he answers:>.

    Then he says that writing novels is a kind of rolling, going underneath 3 dimensions: he tastes things, he smells things, and there aren’t lots of dialogue in his novels. Paul Auster also makes a distinction between films and novels:>. Then he says that he is inspired by life when he writes :>.

    Thanks to this video I understand some particular things about Paul Auster’s thoughts. The question about the cinema is interesting because now I know his relationship with films.

    I prefer the cover with the moon and the darkness because the title “man in the dark” stands for the unknown and for the confusion of humanity.

  6. anonimo scrive:

    I really appreciate this Paul Auster’s reading of his book “Man in the dark”. It was very involving because he succeeded in creating a particular atmosphere, in fact it seems that I was a part of the book, as if I was August Brill. I found very interesting the questions of the boys, who were there, in particular the first one that concerns his approach with the cinema to which he answers: “ I love film, when I was 19-20 years old I would like to become a director, then I realized at that time of my life, I was so shy, so unable to talk in front of other people, how can I direct a film if I can’t talk to anybody? So I gave up the idea. Later, after I started publishing novels, film-makers started approaching me and, as you know, I collaborate on 2 films “.

    Then he says that writing novels is a kind of rolling, going underneath 3 dimensions: he tastes things, he smells things, and there aren’t lots of dialogue in his novels. Paul Auster also makes a distinction between films and novels: “ film is a kind of puzzle, it is not flowing in the way a novel flows but it is interesting and the fact is that you think film as real but it is the fakest thing in the world and when you write for a film, as in my case, you think about this rectangle, this 2 dimensional flats and try to put all the action in there.

    Film and cinema are only funny business. Anyway this experience was good for me because I knew other people, I collaborated and I made friendship “. Then he says that he is inspired by life when he writes : “ life is unpredictable and reality is bizarre, and we all know that bizarre things happen, so I try to embrace this on the works and leave them out “.

    Thanks to this video I understand some particular things about Paul Auster’s thoughts. The question about the cinema is interesting because now I know his relationship with films.

    I prefer the cover with the moon and the darkness because the title “man in the dark” stands for the unknown and for the confusion of humanity.

    Santarossa Barbara

  7. anonimo scrive:

    Arnoldi Martina

    I’m just finished listening Paul Auster reading some pages of his book,it’s’s as if he was reading something not write from his hand.I had this sensation,anyway he was involving.He said that write a book is a flowing work,writing for Auster is a necessity and he underlines that he writes by hand and at the end he uses his lovely tipescript.I think he writes with no difficulty,words comes out from his mind and hand in a “flowing” way.he has some difficulties writing scenes for films because he shoul take in consideration many things in order to write something that can be played.

    He said he writes real life,real feelings.maybe sometimes we find magic or fantastic element in his novel but if we read in the deep,we will find real feelings.the strange element is the chance.another time life guided by chance.

    in the end he repeats that he doesn’t love think about novel that he has already published.books become a cmmercial things and it’s not useful thinking about critics.he prefers go on working for another book.think about future and not about the past.

    I would love ask him something about the family element that I find in his novel,I think there is a connection.i haven’t a specific question but i will work on it and maybe I will have the opportunity to ask him during Dedica.

    About the book cover,i would like to say that I don’t like the one we have.i don’t like it because it is insignificant for me.i like how Ilaria has interpreted it but I don’t find something that stike me on it.I thing the one with the man’s shape and the italin’s one are better.they have something symbolic for the book.I have an idea in my mind for the graphic competiton,I need help to realise it.I wish prof Ros will help me,I will tell you my idea!

  8. anonimo scrive:


    At the beginning I could not understand the ‘European’ cover of the novel, but now that I have almost finished the book, I found it very interesting.

    A man, in the dark, telling himself stories with the purpose of falling asleep or at least passing some time.

    I can link this image with the European cover of the novel.

    A man is drowning in the lake of his stories, he is absorbed by them, and it is difficult for him to emerge again.

    3 questions:

    • Which are the covers of this novel you like the most?

    • For the features of the characters did someone you know inspire you?

    • How long did it take you to write this novel?

  9. anonimo scrive:


    well…I must say that also the american cover is interesting….but I think my favourite would be always the english one….but I think my preference is due to the fact I simply liked the photo…it is very suggestive…and also romantic…

    the italian cover of his book I really dodn’t like…first of all because they don’t cover all the space available…sorry for this digression on italian covers…however the question I would ask Mr P.A. first of all, as I’ve already said, if he write a book in which he will conclude all the stories he left open in the stories within the stories of his books;

    then,I wish he wrote a story set in Italy…I’ve thought now, he has nothing more to criticize about america…maybe he could denounce some other realities in his novels…

    my third question is…’you wore the shoes of a dog…why don’t you invent a female character telling her story with the speaking I?’

  10. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Francesco,

    thanks for your brilliant comments. Even the language you use is just great. I think somebody is somehow helping you, since the register is not the one you generally use, however, if the blog implies being helped and thus learning from someone else, well I am totally in favour of this. The novel is certainly an attack to the Bush administration and to the former President’s foreign affairs decisions. This novel wouldn’t exist if it had not been for President Bush. So Auster is evidence of the important role lots of intellectuals play in objecting to the system (as we are seeing with Orwell), in questioning certain political choices. If it were not for their writing, their art, our world would have little hope for change.

  11. anonimo scrive:

    First of all I noticed that the european cover conveys all the attention to the title and to the name of the author, whereas in the american version they have a secondary role, it is the image that has to catch the attention of the reader, for this reason it is much more interesting and enigmatic (even though I don’t like it, too dark and sad). This cover makes you reflect, it is meant for a qualified public, you will never find it at the supermarket, I suppose.

    The novel is really interesting by now, this parallel history is involving, probably I need to find a sparkle of reality in the book I read, otherwise I’m completely lost and can’t go on reading!

    I agree with Mr Auster words in the video. He says that prose flows more easily than a movie: I found it difficult watching his films, too intellectual perhaps to be trasposed into a series of images; movies based on novels are like a cage, where our imagination lose its freedom to fly. So I’d like to ask him:

    – are you working on a movie version of this novel?

    – will you stop writing dystopic novels, since the new american

    president is the one you wished?

    – in “man in the dark”, the storyteller as got a huge power: do you think literature has really such a strong influence on the public opinion?

    fede zille

  12. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Federica,

    Good observations as to the book cover. The American one appeals to a sense of nation tramped on by a huge monster (the system?), the European one highlights the name of the author (this reveals how famous he is in Europe). I love your questions, do remember to add them to the ones you are jotting down for the interview with Paul Auster.


  13. anonimo scrive:

    I like the most the European cover of the book. It represents better the book. I mean: “man in the dark” implies something mysterious, difficult to disclose and a cover represented the night suit better to the book than a cover on which is represented a man with the American flag in the hand.

    Of the european cover I like also the colours and the layout. Very very nice.

    The tranquillity represented by the cover doesn’t reveal the sad stories that the reader find in the book…it seemes an illusion…

    I’m sorry, but now the only question that I would like to ask him is: why are you so interested in investigating human psychology?

    I’m very sorry for have written only a question…the other will come early…

    Giulia Canzi

  14. anonimo scrive:

    Paul Auster’s last novel “Man in the dark” can be considered as well as “Travels in the scriptorium” a metaphysical novel. They discuss about dissimilar things, the plots are entirely different but both novels deal with imagination, both try to give their own meaning to the reality and to create it as its own. In “Man in the dark” we can see it very well…here August Brill, the main character, probably associated with the same Paul Auster, makes up a story in which he goes beyond the boundaries of reality to create a parallel world more terrible than his own. He tells us the story of a civil war that starts with the 2000 presidential elections.

    In this novel Paul Auster expresses more than ever his subjectivity…in fact the pretext arise from his personal frusration due to the result of the elections.

    Paul Auster said that the imagination is a cerebral organism that can bring you elsewhere in a minute and he award this meaning to his character August Bril…in fact he wants to take shelter in the imagination to avoid and to escape from all his pains.

    I found really interesting the reading of the book by Paul Auster…it was involving and i think, no i am sure that only the autor can and manages to give the right beat and to create the right atmosphere in the reading of his own masterpiece. It is a wanderful way to convey his own feelings to the readers (listener).

    Between the two book’s covers, i prefer that of the darkness with the moon. It suits better the title of the book and its meaning…it shows the darkness that stands for the confusion of the humanity , as Paul Auster said, and the moonlight which represents the hope …maybe in a better future!

    The questions that i would like to ask Paul Auster are:

    “Man in the dark” is a novel that critics the Bush’s administration…What kind of feelings have you felt in writing it? Anger or a sense of release as a sort of outlet?

    How will be your next novel?Have you already an idea of the subject?

    Since you are also a film director have you already thought to make a new movie?

    Marson Chiara

  15. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Giulia, the question you asked is really interesting, so do remember to record it in your exercise book.

    Chiara, I like your questions too. Just like you, I love listening to the voice of the writer reading out some excerpts of his work. It adds meaning to the words, doesn’t it?

  16. anonimo scrive:

    The answer Paul Auster gave to the first question was very interesting in order to understand the main purpose literature has in his opinion: differently from cinema, which is “the biggest fake of the world” and a “funny business”, literature gives the author the possibility of a never fixed work, which can be interpret by the reader in many different ways .The characters on the stage play a fixed role that cannot be changed by the viewers. Auster declared also his shyness which is perceivable by looking his eyes always orientated to the floor. The second theme is imagination: the author starts his story from realistic assumptions which are enriched with the power of chance ,typical of life, which is not conceived by the most fixed logic. Chance is not a product of imagination, it is a natural product of life(think at the indetermination principle of Heisenberg).

    August Brill can be identify with Paul Auster with his problems, his difficult relationships, and the passion for inventing, but in some ways the character does things that Paul Auster did not , he is infact more present to his son and nephew than Auster with his sons. Is August Brill representative of you and of your ideal conception of father? Do you think that so a perfect chance has an implicit order? Are Miriam ,Sonia and Katya and representative of your relatives?

    The two covers exalt different sides of the book, the first is referred to Brill, who will always live with is fears, and so he becomes more similar to the author and will be always jailed in his sense of gulit. The second suits better the character of Katya, who is maybe one of his sons , and the the possibility of redemption ,which Is symbolized by the moon.

  17. anonimo scrive:

    Perin Marco

  18. anonimo scrive:

    1) What is the meaning of Brill’s imaginary world? Can we look at it as the representation of Brill’s inner sorrow or even the representation of psychological status of American people during the war in Iraq?

    2) In cancelling his own imaginary world, Brill seems to remove and thus escape from his unsolved past, full of fears and nightmare. Is It really like that? Is this psychological removal the only possible solution as he can’t face his life’s problems?

    3) Do you think that the civil war is the only possible solution, in an America without a war in Iraq? If you wrote your book now, I mean after the Obama’election, do you think August Brill would think more positive? Would his imagination project a different world?

    Between these two covers of the book, I prefer the one with the white man’s shape in the front, because I find it more representative that the other. It evokes the idea of a dead man, surrounded by ruins. It’s a negative image that reflects the topic of the book related to a country involved in war, and also represents the main character’s sad story, giving the reader a feeling of stillness, sadness and heaviness. The other cover instead evokes a more positive story that doesn’t really match with the title and the plot. The picture is a landscape with a dark wood in the background taken by night, but the moon rays illuminates everything giving a too much positive feeling.

    Nicola Truant

  19. anonimo scrive:

    Well… we already know SO much about Paul Auster that is hard to imagine really interesting questions. Anyway I come up with three main themes in which find a question:

    • Solitude. A theme developed both in Man in the Dark and Travels in the Scriptorium, as the condition of the writer and one of the feelings that his characters feel.

    • Imagination. It’s used in order to create new worlds in which we can find refuge from a reality we can’t and want accept.

    • Darkness. Meaning: humanity groping in a tough reality.

    Regarding the covers I find the American one really interesting because explains very well the meaning of the book. A scrap of US flag symbolizes the war and the divisions recounted in the story and the sing of a body remember us how ephemeral life is (a theme faced in the novel).

    Francesca Cazorzi

  20. anonimo scrive:

    I prefer the European book’s cover because it seems like the view August Brill has every night through the window. I have always thought that Nature make you feel part of the whole universe and make you think about your troubles. Moreover the night hides things and let your imagination work. The moon is symbolic of the light that guide you along your way. So, the story takes place in one only night and the whole book is like a block concentrated of Brill’s thoughts, memories, lived experiences.

    After having read the book, I accrued some questions:

    • In the scene in which Owen Brick died, he was at Virginia Blaine’s house in Wellington, in the world in which there wasn’t the civil war. The moment the Federal troops arrived, was he still in the that world or he had been transported in the one in which there was the war? Because I thought that in a place in which there is not a conflict , such a military action couldn’t be possible.

    • What was the starting purpose of the novel from which Paul Auster was encouraged to go ahead with the writing of the book? What did he want to express to people who read his book?

    • War was one of the most important recurring theme in the book. Except the contemporary war in Iraq, are there any other reasons why Auster decide to deals with this kind of issue?

  21. anonimo scrive:

    Carolina Braghin

  22. anonimo scrive:

    Well, I must admit I really liked this book.. It’s really interesting and various… And Paul Auster explained a lot of things in it, so that the reader can “follow his thoughts”…

    This is a really creative book, I mean, and there’s a sentence I’d like to write here, because it really impressed me: “They spend their lives forgiving others, but they can’t forgive themselves”. (pg.77)

    I don’t know why, but I believe this sentence is referred to Paul Auster himself… So, I would ask him if the presence of movies/books/various stories in his productions, are a way to talk about about himself, as in this case. Perhaps it’s simpler expressing anguish and fears through another’s voice. Then, I’d like to ask him the importance of solitude for him… In the novels I read, but also in his movies, there are always lonely people, who meet somebody else, but feel abandoned or devastated…

    Not a source of complete joy, but always existential problems… That’s why I consider him to be more a philosopher, than a simple writer.

    The third question is so simple and complicate… I’d ask him if he is happy now, because most artists feel the need to produce when they’re not satisfied with their lives. But Auster’s life seems quite quiet now, isn’t like that?

    He’s married, his daughter is wonderful and works in theatres, his son has some problems but it’s over now… No?

    I definitely prefer the European book cover, because I think is more “powerful”: personally,I wouldn’t buy a book with the first book cover, especially If I didn’t know the author (and Auster is not famous as Moccia in Italy, you know), even with such an intriguing title. But the second cover catches your eyes in a bookshop, because really mysterious… I like it!

    After heving read the novel, I find the title really significant.. It can be considered true both for August Brill and Owen Brick.

    Giulia Marcassa

  23. MicheleDB scrive:

    I think this book seems like a very detailed diary: there are frequent interruptions and a some parts that are input in different moments. However the book it is as realistic that seems autobiographical. It is difficult to think to that book and to imagine that those actions never happen. The non-reality described in the book is only a different reality that could have been started with the elections of Bush in 2000. A “dystrophic reality” where you would not even be free to dream, but someone would have chosen for you.

    I found very interesting the thoughts of Owen Brick, the link he made among the death of August Brill and his suicide. Killing himself was only a way to end the war. However, even if the possibility not to let other American die depends on one single person, we see how difficult is to sacrifice our own life. At the end the suicide of Owen Brick is not a direct choice, but the reader knows that Owen Brick understands that staying with Virginia will not change his destiny.

    Concerning the book cover I prefer the former instead of the latter because it gives me the idea of darkness, indecision and indeterminacy that I found in the novel. On the other hand the latter suits a situation of peace and calmness that I recognize only in the latest pages.

    Referring the video, we understand the similarities between the life of August Brill and Paul Auster: both like films but have a predilection for books and we see this aspect also in the description of the movie among August Brill and her nephew.

  24. anonimo scrive:

    Well, these are my three questions:

    – Now the president of the USA is Obama, symbolic of the democratic side. You wrote “Man in the dark” after the election of Bush. In an interview on “Che tempo che fa” you declared your support to Obama. So now, you should not have the motivations to write a book as “Man in the dark”, isn’t it?

    – In your books, like “Man in the dark” and “Travels in the scriptorium”, a recurrent theme is that of isolation. In the former situation August Brill images a parallel world to escape from his pain, in the latter Mr. Blank is in a isolated room. Well, is that theme an expression of your mood? I mean, do you feel isolated?

    – Do you think that a book can change the way of thinking? You don’t close your books, like “travels in the scriptorium”; so do you believe that a book can be a starting point for a thought on human beings?

    As regards the book covers, I like the first: the second conveys all the attention on the title; the fist instead, concentrates the attention on the man, and like his books, we can reading this cover in many different way. This cover explains better the mood of the protagonist, his fear and his worry.

    Monica Santi

  25. anonimo scrive:


    So, there are some things that I would like to ask Paul Auster. First of all in the book there is a strong connection between real and unreal; the two worlds that seem separate at the beginning, are revealed so many next one to other. So, the first thing that I would to know is which kind of link Paul Auster thinks are between real and unreal.

    Secondary in the novel there is a clear criticism about Bush’s government and about the war in Iraq. Paul Auster had imaged that “Iraq had never existed” but in America there is a civil war. But why the author thinks that the only way that the Americans can walk is a way with a war? Are American population so violent and unstable?

    The third aspect that I would make clear is the theme of the solitude. Both in “Man in The Dark” and “Travels in the Scriptorium” there is a man alone with him-self. Have this two character some things of Paul Auster? Is Man in the Dark a sort of autobiographical novel?

    About the two covers, I think that the American cover is more real than the European. The former shows the political meaning of the novel, the latter is more imaginative: for the beauty I would choose the European cover, for the sense the American one

  26. anonimo scrive:

    i think that the more appropriate cover for this book is the firstone because it rapresents perfectly the vision that the autor would give to the reader of the condition of loneliness that Owen Brick has at the very beginning of the story. although the second-one brings the reader to a sort of an other immaginary world i think that the first one center the point of the story and so is better.

    My three questions are:

    -have you ever feel fear of some ripercassion for what you have written??

    -you write this book but you were influenced more by your political opinions or by your opposition to the all system??

    -what do you aspect to create in the mind of the reader??


  27. anonimo scrive:

    At the beginning of the novel it seems that Auster wanted to take revenge on someone by making the main character a 72 years old literary critic with multiple mifortunes: his sister may have committed suicide, his wife has recently died, his daughter and granddaughter are deeply unhappy and he suffers from insomnia and walks with a crutch because his leg has been mangled in an accident. It seems that Auster likes to inflict disasters on his characters!

    Why be so cruel and heartless in the creation of August Brill?

    Also if I enjoy it, at the end the novel tastes as a new “Travels in the Scriptorium”, rewritten in a semi realistic vein.

    How would you respond if I said that “Man in the Dark” is merely a remaking of “Travels in the Scriptorium” arranged to the actuality and with some politic intentions?

    The novel is the narration of a sleepless night, in which August Brill invents a character named Owen Brick, a happily married 29 years old man who wakes up in a parallel contemporary world where the United States is fighting a civil war. Brick is told by another character in the story that he can stop the war if he finds Brill and kills him: the war is only happening because a spooky and bored old man is thinking it up. But it is actually Auster, not Brill, the one bringing the horrors of war into fictional existence.

    Using this technique of the “story within the story” (metafiction) don’t you feel a “Man in the dark” too?

    The cover that I prefer is the first one because it reminds me the image of a lonely and powerless dead man, which embodies better the eerie sense of nervousness, dreaminess and vagueness of the novel.

    Alessandro Piccin

  28. anonimo scrive:

    Three questions for Paul Auster:

    • We’ve read Man in the dark and Travels in the scriptorium; I’ve noticed that August Brill and Mr Blank directed the plot.Why do you hide yourself behind a character? Do you feel guilty in writing?
    • Why Man in the dark is a collection of stories not linked each other that the protagonist throw up from his mind and his mouth? could be that this is the way you create your stories?
    • Why do you write in this books about men who escape in imagination? I know you are not happy about this society, are you such unhappy that thinks the only way to survive is to escape in an ideal world?

    About the cover: I prefer the European cover only because the American one is too linked with Owen Brick and not with the protagonist-author of the book (August Brill). This is the only reason.


  29. anonimo scrive:

    Before talking about Man In The Dark, which i really appreciate, in spite of the previous reading of “Travels in The Scriptorium”, i would like to express my disappointment about the date of Paul Auster’s visit. I think it’s simply absurd that we will not have the possibility to meet him after all the efforts we’ve made for him. It seems rather impossible that nobody knows his date of coming before the definitive plan of our school trip. I don’t know who is responsible for the delay in the communication of the meeting, but it’s blatant there should have been a better organization! Personally, I feel very very frustrated because i think we had to be informed before, as a form of respect towards us. I liked so much “Man In The Dark” that i really wanted to listen and talk to Paul Auster about its issues, at least to see the person who, indirectly, has made us work so hard!

    Anyway…What caught me most in the novel has been the touching narration of August Brill’s life, with its ups and downs, as everyone’s. The language he used to describe his youthful and innocent feelings is so simple, effective and striking that it doesn’t really seems the one spoken by an old man with a writing career behind. And that’s the reason why it reveals to be so actual and easy to understand and own by the reader, also by a young and foreign one, like we are.

    Some scenes are as true and vivid as they were shot in a film so, in my opinion, it’s almost impossible the author didn’t live them personally and then readact them to the story. I mean, his life certainly hasn’t been so painful as Brill’s, in fact “Man In The Dark” is a novel, not an autobiography! (so, this is my first implicit question, but as it’s too personal, i think Auster would have never answered me, if i had asked it to him).

    Then August goes on with his life-story,narrating all his past and present troubles to his grandaughter Katya,, throughout the long dark night.

    Many sad events have destroyed his initially untroubled and cheerful life, some of which were only his fault, others have happened just because of randomness (the famous Auster’s randomness).

    He deals with a lot of themes which belong to our contemporary world: couple crysis , followed by divorces or even cruel deaths, injustices and cheatings of all types, even among families.

    And Katya listen to all his stream of thoughts, state descriptions and painful revelations, asking more whenever August takes a break. Katya is so desperate for her former boyfriend’s bloody death that she can do anything but passively listen to him; and, compared to her short but sad life , his grandfathers’s appears to have been so exciting and full of deep changes, that she thinks he cannot and he musn’t complain about the mistakes he has made in many circumstances. I’m sure Katya learnt a lot from that night and i can imagine her, after August death, remembering that night spent in that dark room where she inherited the weight of the memories of an entire life. My second question is, indeed, how much does he think is important for a young boy/girl to learn from and treasure someone else’s mistakes, especially when the person is trying to give him/her advice really loves him/her and wants to help him/her to find a solution of his/her problems?

    There is also an excerpt i would like to quote because i found it very deep as it opened my mind about a lot of issues: “I walked around with a feeling that my life had never truly belonged to me, that i had never truly inhabited myself, that i had never been real. And because i wasn’t real, I didn’t understand the effect I had on others, the damage I could cause, the hurt I could inflict on the people who loved me.” Any other word would be pointless to be written

    I also liked so much the descriptions of particolar scenes in the films viewed by the characters and the specific role every object played inside them. Although Auster, by means of Katya’s words, says that films are merely “a distraction of watching other things” that help her to carry on, he appears to be a great cinema expert and he increases the value of movies, as a source of thinking stimulation and and improvement of critical sense. So I would also like to ask him which of the latest films has come up so far, he would suggest me watching . Which one has impressed you most and why? Where can i find in it some key scenes such as those you described in the novel?

    Owen Brick’s story is very strange and interesting but i think Auster shows his best capabilities in the second part of the novel. The parallel American dimension suddenly vanished in Brill’s mind, in the same way as it came up at the beginning, and Brick’s useless death left me a little bit astonished.

    As for the book covers, i like both of them and i can’t say which one represents better the novel themes. Anyway I think covers are important just to sell more the book, but the really important things are those you can read when you open it and forget the book cover itself!

    Sorry for the initial vent, but it has to be done

    Simone 😀

  30. anonimo scrive:

    I must admit that I really liked this book instead of “Travel in the Scriptorium”. I feel I little astonished by the previous comment of Simone. It’s very deep!! so…in front of this I don’t know what saying..:). Well…i said that I really liked this book because I like the idea of this man with a destroyed family and that he has two friends: the dark and his imagination. Thanks to these he travels with his mind…he invents new stories, new person with own life…he is the god of his stories…and I like look this book through this point of view, because very often happened to me to travels in other countries, meeting other people with own experience of life…and I do this to escape from my life…in this way also August Brill wants to escape from his life also to understand the human psychology.

    Between two covers I prefer the first one because the attention is on the contrast between figure of the man on the ground that is without colour and the American flag that has his colours…Auster wants to leave the readers to think and reflect about the Bush’s America.

    Like Giulia Canzi I would know…

    -why are so interested by human psychology?


    -In what way and sense do you feel as August Brill

    -what is your hope with new America of Obama?

    Laura Sist

  31. anonimo scrive:

    I want to be sincere with you: I really don’t like this book. I mean the subject of an introspection in human psycology is interesting but it isn’t really my genre of novels.

    Do you want to know? I hate the character of August Brill, I think he’s a coward. How can he lies in his bed and hope for someone to kill him? I think that in our lives we must take a decision, wahtever it will be, but we must take it. He simply doesn’t take.

    In front of a huge sorrow we must react in some way, we can’t stay there and look at the wall of sorrow and say “ok, so you stay there and I stay here and we pretend not to see each other”. You simply can’t! And the reaction of August Brill is the one to invent a man, Owen Brick, that has to kill him; but at the end is Brick who dies, not Brill. So I questioned myself “but at which game are we playing?“.

    Antoher point: Owen Brick. I feel desperate for him. It seems as Brill is a dragon, an horrible snake who wants to eat evrything around him to give and end to his huge hungry. And Owen seems to be the poor prey of this horrible snake. Does Owen is only a character or does he is a real person?

    Because…if Owen is a real person it means that maybe we are like that person, maybe there is a Writer who write about us and our problems and our difficulties and our pains, and at the end He simply makes us die when we are nearly the reaching of the target.

    that’s terrible! I don’t want to think that although all my efforts to face my problems, to take important decision, at the end, someone make them go into ash.

    For what concern the covers of the book i like most the european one for only one reason: I looked at it, you know I love work with images, and looking at it I feel as I am nothing. The nature is the subject of the image, not an human or an human thing. Only nature, and the moon is like a big eye that looks down at the Earth. The Man in the Dark. Who is Man in the dark? Who is that decide the destiny of human beings, of the entire America? Is the moon the Man in the dark? We are nothing, although our efforts if the Man in the Dark wants to make us die, we die then.

    I’ll present my version of “Man in the dark” cover.

    As for the questions.

    1) Do you feel more as Brick or Brill? I mean: Do you feel omnipotent as a god when you’r writing or do you feel always as a nothing?

    2) There is a fight between Brick and Brill. Brill wins. Why? In your opinion there is the possibility that a human can win the “god”?

    3) For you is writing a sort of expiation?

    Giulia Raineri

  32. anonimo scrive:

    1) In your opinion, what would be America today if ten years ago Al Gore had won the elections instead of Bush?

    2)In your novels is always present the theme of chance, but have you ever taken inspiration from a singular happening of your life?

    3)For you, being a writer is more a job or is still a passion?

    4)Have you never thought that your books and films would be used in order to force students to write in English?

    I prefer the American cover, because it reflects better the state of static agitation of August Brill, in fact the image is calm but it drives the mind to suspect some dark fears hiding in the night.

    I enjoyed Man In The Dark more than Travels In The Scriptorium, and a particular reason is that the second has an intertextualiy I have not understood perfectly, while the first refers to movies I have seen or at least I have read about.

    Damiano Verardo

  33. anonimo scrive:

    The very day you gave us the books, I began to read “Man in the dark” and I got involved immediately. Then I stopped

    reading it because we had to read “Travels in the scriptorium”

    for first, but I was very curious about its developement.

    I liked the story of Owen Brick and when he died I was astonished: I was wondering about the content of the last 60 pages, and I imagined a return of Brick in some way. But his return didn’t came and the author went on describing the life of Brill.

    I surely prefered reading the story of Brick, endowed with a bit of action, but I appreciated even Brill’s one for different reasons. Firstly because it gave me many cues of reflection: many little stories with a content. For example the story of Titus: he decides to go to Iraq to have a

    different experience. He feel unuseful, unable to do anything,

    and he wants to change his life. Even before reading the book

    I was scared of that condition: to became adult, look back to my life, and discover that nothing has happened, that I have lived as everyone else. I probably won’t do an extreme job as him, because I’m trying not to be in that condition one day, but I understand Titus’s decision.

    I liked even the story of Alec Foyle, the one about the Jewish

    family saved by an SS. Apart from the story itself, which I don’t know whether it’s true, I liked the image of someone telling a story of his old relatives, a story that nobody

    asked and hasn’t great ripercussions on the present. It

    reminded me of my grandmother, when she tells me stories of

    her life, or stories of someone else, that I don’t know. They are stories without a meaning, maybe without a conclusion, but it’s nice to listen to them, just to remember the past, and the people who lived it.

    Even the last part of the book was a “true” story and there we

    have stories, in the story, in the story, a characterizing element in Auster’s novels.

    “As the weird world rolls on”. I like this quotation. It seems like the Heraclitus’s one “panta rei”: everything change and time never stops. Brick lives and then Brick dies, Titus dies and the life of Katya and Brill continues, because that’s what has to happen. We can just remember of the past, and we have to face the future.

    I prefer the second cover: it gives the idea of the quietness of the night and of the solitude of Brill. It suggests better the idea of the dark, of the unknown.

    3 questions for Paul Auster:

    – Has the story that Brill tells to Katya something true, or it’s completely invented?

    – Before the elections in November, who did you think was

    going to win?

    – Are you thinking about a new book? What kind?

    Pietro Perin

  34. anonimo scrive:

    i really enjoyed this book, but i should read twice to understand all the passages and all the symbols Auster used! the plot was really rich and sofisticated, and I appreciate the fantastic way to connect the two stories.

    This reading was a real surprise, since much more enjoyable of “Travels in the scriptorium, and captivating in its affairs. the three questions are:

    1) which aspects of your life have influenced the make out of this book (es. family, work…)?

    2) you are a smart person, so what kind of character should you be in an hypothetical auto-referential book?

    3) As a writer, what do you think about the civil war in Sudan? could you find any solution?

    thank you, Matteo Cervesato!

  35. anonimo scrive:

    Reading Man in the dark it was a surprise for me: I really appreciate the reading even if there are some points that I didn’t like. As Pietro writes I was surprised when Brick died unexpectedly and I was curious to know what were about the last 60 pages. I thought that Brill would change the end, that it would be a coup de theatre, but I was wrong. I read about the story of Brill from his adolescence to his adulthood; his doubts, his mistakes. Some parts were interesting, other not so much, but it was a pleasant reading.

    I found interesting that August Brill is similar to Mr Blank, the character of Travels in the Scriptorium. So I would like to ask to Paul Auster if there is a reason of this similarity.

    Another theme in common with Travels in the Scriptorium is the solitude of each character. It seems that this is an important theme for Paul Auster. Why?

    I liked the critic that Auster did to the Bush’s Government and to the war in Iraq. I think that in Italy it wouldn’t be possible to do the same thing. So at least in the USA there is freedom of press. But you never have some doubts about possible repercussions of this book because of his politic position?

    I definitely prefer the European cover that leaves space to the imagination that is, in my opinion, the best thing of books. It represents something not very definite, so I prefer it.

    Federica Battistin

  36. anonimo scrive:

    “Travels in the scriptorium” doesn’t catch me very much, but “Man in the dark” is a very interesting book. “Man in the Dark“ creates an alternate universe in which the twin towers never toppled, the war in Iraq never began, and instead the United States wages against itself, divided in civil war. More than a compelling what-if, Auster’s book confronts the most important questions of our times in a way that is gut-wrenchingly real. Also the language and the themes are very attractive and exciting. I must admit that Paul Auster has a very lively imagination.

    Auster chooses an ailing literary critic named August Brill, who lives in the same house as his daughter and granddaughter. It seems as if pain is what binds these family members together: there’s Brill, who’s mourning the loss of his wife to cancer and mending from a car crash that shattered his leg. Brill’s daughter Miriam is recovering from a divorce, and his granddaughter Katya watches film after film to numb herself from the reality of her boyfriend’s horrific murder. Brill creates a war story where America is in a civil war, Auster takes advantage from the story to reveal some critics to Bush’s government and to the Iraq war and the causes of the crisis.

    Reading the novel there are some question I would like to ask to Paul Auster:

    – What does Paul Auster accuse to his father in his childhood?

    – Why does Paul Auster critic Bush with a book only now, has he feel fear of some repercussion for what he has written?

    – What is the intent of Paul Auster with “Man in the dark” about the riders?

    – What is his ideas about the new president Obama?


    Plazzotta Federico

  37. anonimo scrive:

    Oldness, love, books, history, family, fear of war, disease, writing … these themes are present in the beautiful novel by Paul Auster.

    The title evokes the darkness and conveys the difficulty of continuing to live of Augustin Brill, especially in darkness of the night. The protagonist is victim of a car crash and constricted to the immobility and widower of the beloved Sonia. He has accepted the invitation of his daughter Miriam and granddaughter Katya, whose boyfriend, Titus, was a horrible death in Iraq. The nights of the old man are dramatic: because of the sleeplessness he invents stories, one of which has large space in the novel. In a game of Chinese boxes, Auster makes a story in the other. The writer imagines two parallel Americas: in one of these is a new civil war, with a secessionist states, but while remaining contemporary to the real, it has not experienced the collapse of the Twin Towers, nor the war in Iraq. But despite the desire to escape into a fantasy world, Brill can not avoid his life and his memories. His granddaughter Katya, while its devastating pain, is able to make his grandfather live again his wonderful love story with her grandmother, Sonia who was a French singer full of mysterious charm.

    A novel that begins as a tale of death and ends with a surge of optimism family: three generations through love can be reconciled in a world that in the beginning of the novel had been reported hopeless.

    Francesco marson

  38. anonimo scrive:

    Ops, I forgot the questions 🙂

    Regarding the covers, I prefer the second because it represents one of those nights where you put Brill sleepless imagine, even if the first with the imprint of man with the American flag is more significant. The three questions to Paul Auster are:

    – What is the role the family takes in this novel? Is the result of your personal experience?

    – In the story of Brill, the twin towers have never fallen: do you think their collapse was just a pretext for Iraq war?

    – What do you want to communicate by telling the personal misfortunes of Brill?


  39. anonimo scrive:

    I found the novel “Man in the Dark” very interesting, especially for the importance given to imagination and to the choice of the story within the story. I like the power and the ability of imagination to upset the situation and make it close to fiction. The plot of “man in the dark” is truly very involving, because, with imagination, Brill has the capability to change the reality and get away from it (eg. Twin Towers). I think the first cover, with the shape of a man in the ground is striking and somewhat “disturbing” but I prefer the second because it suggests the idea of darkness (a darkness that is not empty, because in it Brill, or anyone else, can see a parallel and personal reality).

    My three questions are:

    -Why so much importance to imagination and human beings introspection? is there a period in your life in which imagination was essential to move forward, as for Brill in your novel?

    -As said in an interview seen in a previous post, do you think that this novel could have some ripercussion on the readers?

    -Why did you choose to deal with war?

    Federica Cozzarin

  40. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Simone, I think you are as dissapointed as I am. I think your classmates and you worked really well on the project and it is really a pity that your trip was organised in the same period as Paul Auster’s visit of Pordenone. It is nobody’s fault. You had to organise your school trip way in advance and even if it was known that Paul Auster would be the guest of Dedica, it was not sure when he would make it to Pordenone, since he is a busy writer. When I was informed about the precise date, I told you straightaway. Unfortunately your trip is linked to another class, so nothing could be done about it. Perhaps it is difficult for you to understand that organising such event is not easy. It involves institutions and schools. Unlike last year, Paul Auster could come in April, the time of the year when lots of final year classes have their schooltrip. Since Dedica is not part of the class project (as it happens with 5H) the teachers did not take it into consideration when they organised the schooltrip. I was so sorry and I can imagine how sorry you felt. This makes me happy, somehow, because it means you liked working on him and you appreciated the work I did with you. Let’s look at the positive side of things.

    As to the quotation you mention, well, thanks. I love it myself. I think it is so true and at the same time so difficult to “stick to”. I am sure we all hurt people in one way or another, even if we don’t mean to. We will see this when we analyse “The Ballad of Reading Goal” by O. Wilde when you come back from your schooltrip!

    Giulia, you know that as a teacher I have always promoted a sincere interaction both inside and outside the classroom. I really appreciate when my students tell the truth. This is what school should promote, shouldn’t it: free expression of speech and thought. The very fact that you are expressing your ideas so openly is proof of a great achievement.

    Pietro thanks for Heraclitus’s quotation. I did not remember it. You refreshed my memory.

    I am so very proud of you folks and I am sure Mr. Auster would really appreciate your obsevations if he read them. We know he does not like using the computer, but we never know. Perhaps he is reading us this very moment, who knows.

  41. anonimo scrive:

    first of all i find positive and negative points in all the 2 covers. the american one highlites mostly the character of owen brick, the nonsense of the war, and the criticism to the american political line; the european one emphasizes instead the real character of august brill, and his state of insomnia, the darkness that it’s always present. i personally don’t like the american cover because ( it is somehow a stupid answer ^__^”’) gray is the predominant colour of the image and i cannot image it in the novel, and ( ok it is more intelligent ) because the mark in the groud seems something that only a far heavy corpse can produce, and owen brick is only a ghost, or…well, it is a bit illogic even if it is a real human body. perhaps i don’t understand properly the real meaning of the cover, the flag and the mark but i think it is an exageration of the critique against american war. on the other hand, i think the european cover rapresents a romantic night, not a night populated by nightmares and insomnia.

    i really appreciate paul auster’s reading of some extracts of his book, expecially the opening part. once he began to talk i immediatly figured out the atmosphere and as long as he read i overlapped the character of august brill with the author, something that only few people can evoke.

    now i would like to ask to paul auster:

    – which cover do you find more suitable to the themes present in your novel?

    – do you think that humanity will begin to escape from this darkness, after the election of a democratic president like Obama?

    – isn’t it a little bit cruel create a character with a so anguishing and cataclismic life or do you think that only a person like august brill ( with his situation) can imagine a figure like brick?

    elena giacomin

  42. anonimo scrive:

    In my opinion it is always exciting listening to an author that reads his novel, as well as it is exciting taking part to a concert of your best singer. When they read/sing their novel/song they imbue them with their energy and their passion, they are more confident with their work than the simple reader or listener, they know the best way to interpreate it and make us feel more involved in the novel/song. It is also nice to see how they are proud of their work and watching Mr Auster while he was reading “Man in the Dark”, catches my attention more than anything else. I’ve found really interesting watching his face and listening to his voice (while he was reading), instead of searching the excerpts in the book and reading them, I was focusing my attention on the relation between the writer and his work; his expression passes on a feeling of sorrow because of the story (a cry of pain), as if he wanted to personify August Brill. Brill is the main character of the novel, the man in the dark, in the dark of his sorrow, in the dark of his life.

    I’m very uncertain by choosing the best cover. Both of them suit the story of the book, but I think there is something missing in both covers. The european one expresses very well the condition of darkness, with this dark landscape, whereas the american cover focuses on the man’s figure. I think that if it is possible to join the two covers, the new one will suit best the book. =) I’m also curious to know what does Mr Auster think about the two covers!!

    I’ve appreciated the answer of Mr Auster concerning how to make a film and Auster’s relation between writing a book and shooting a film. Undoubtly, shooting a film is more exacting than writing a novel, but he does not give up and he goes on with this purpose of creating a film because it gives lots of chance to grow up and create friendships (according with what Auster said in the video).

    Carla Cipolla

  43. anonimo scrive:

    I think that the American cover is more involving and interesting than the European version.

    In the European cover is underlined a dark landscape and a starry sky with a full moon above all. It does not catch me the attention as the American cover does.

    In the other cover a figure of a man is designed on the floor as this man was buried. This figure has an american flag on his left hand.

    Every day August Brill tells himself a story about a parallel world where America is the protagonist. He writes to distract himself from his personal problems:he has lost his wife;Katya,his granddaughter has lost his husband in war and Miriam,his daughter has dovorced.

    In the ending part of the book is described how Titus(Katya’s husband) died.The jailers are so cruel and torture him.They release to the relatives a video of Titus execution in Iraq.

    This part is quite terrific but reveals the greatness of Paul Auster.


  44. anonimo scrive:

    Listening Me Auster reading his books make you feel different sensation compared with the ones you can experience reading the same words by yourself! The author, that just wrote those words, can give them the right intonation and intensity and make you understand what he really wanted to express when he wrote those words!

    I think that the European cover is just wonderful! Its colours and even the colour of the title suit best the idea of darkness! It reproduces a landscape but all is dark and obscured! Even the moon appears far and opaque! All these elements give the idea of a Man in the Dark., of a man who can’t find any benchmark, any road for a new life and to the light! The first time I saw that cover I immediately wanted to start reading this book! I think this cover is very attractive and alluring! On the other hand I have a bad opinion of the American cover ! That shadow of a man pressed on the earth make me feel anguished, I don’t know exactly why but, that cover doesn’t make me want to read that book!! That’ s why is better not to be influence by the cover of a book ! Sometimes you risk to miss a wonderful book only because of its not inviting appearance!!!

    —Nadal Martina—

  45. anonimo scrive:

    As I told you for “Travels in the scriptorium”, Auster’s way of writing did not fascinate me, but I’m completely sincere when I say that I liked most “Man in the Dark”. I appreciated the idea of introducing an other world, different from ours. I understand the emotional state of the protagonist: it’s quite normal to imagine a new view of the world, a new situation when somebody lives in a situation like Brill’s.

    However Auster’s decision of changing something that happened after 11th September 2001 (included), give me the idea that Auster never accepted those facts up to remove them in one of his novels. I am not saying that he has to say that the attack to Twin Towers was right obviously, I am just saying that he seems to tell his story trying to change the past. In many interview, journalists asked him if he was rejecting his country’s story: he ever answered “No”, but he repeated many times that he had never accepted the victory of Bush. I am not a moralist but let bygones be bygones, so it has no sense to continue this attack. But this is just my modest opinion.

    Let’s talk about covers…I like the second cover because, in my opinion, it gives the idea of the darkness of the night opposed to the light of the moon (also the name Brill let us think about something “brilliant”: so a brilliant man in the dark). But I also like the Italy’s cover in spite of the very little image.

    Elena Poles

  46. anonimo scrive:

    “Man in the dark” is one of the best novels ever written by Paul Auster.The main character,a 72-year old man,August Brill,tries not to think about his great pain (he has recently lost his wife) by telling him self a story about a parallel world,where America is afflicted by a terrible civil war begun after Bush presidential election in 2000.

    The novel becomes a sort of critique to the Iraq war and to all the useless wars that cause lots of deaths,especially among young men,enlisted to fight for their motherlands.

    It reflects also the author’s disapproval to the government of Bush by setting the war in his nation,destroyed by his citizen not by the bombs of the middle-east terrotists.

    Moreover this book is a real cry of is embued drenched with a great sorrow,caused by the imaginated war and by personal situation,the main characters of the novel suffer because of the loss of a beloved person.I think that the most important point of this book is not Bush or politics but the sorrow that is inborn in our existence as human beings and that we can’t avoid.

    The book cover I liked the most is the italian one,which rewpresents a night-landscape,it symbolizes the daytime when Brill imagines the story and the dark moments that the characters and the entire world are going through.

    Montrasio Valentina

  47. anonimo scrive:

    I like the american cover more than the italian one. It is more attractive; in this picture you are given more details that make you think of a possible plot, so the book becomes more catching and a possible buyer is more encouraged to read it. If I had to buy one of these two books, I would choose the one with the american cover. The image communicates loneliness, brittleness; the American flag is reduced to a little hanky and lies there, among the dried leaves. Whereas the italian cover highlightes more the name of the writer and the title; there are not so many elements on which you can base a possible story: the night sky is a little bit too trivial, it says nothing special to me.

    Paul Auster’s reading was strange to me; it is unusual to read the book and then listen to the author reading it himself! Anyway, I found it very interesting and curious, and I watched the video with pleasure.

    During our interview with Paul Auster I felt like I had a 360° knowledge of his poetic and private life, so I found it very very useful!

    Jana Stefani

  48. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Elena, none of your considerations are either superficial or stupid! You are too smart a student to write silly things. I found your observations interestingto and to the point.

    Carla, the idea of changing the book cover is nice, why didn’t you do that for the Dedica Project? You seem to have clear ideas about what the best cover should be. We listened to Paul Auster’s words here in Pordenone and we understood how much he cherishes frienship. Even Wim Wenders’s homage video is evidence/proof of the relevance and power of frienship in Auster’s life.

    Giulia, I agree with you when you underline the power of Auster’s language when he writes about Titus’s death/execution. Even Anna Bonaiuto’s wonderful performance of these pages reveals the mesmerizing and yet terrifying experience readers are asked to undergo when they read or listen to this passage. Unfortunately Auster was not present at Bonaiuto’s reading of his novel. If he had, I am sure he would have appreciated her performance, her brilliant life interpretation of part of his novel.

    Martina, a cover is important, but it is not the author choosing it. So I think a good reader knows s/he should look at the blurb too, not just the image on the dust jacket/book cover. Like you, I love listening to the author reading from his book. It changes the impact of language on you.

    Elena, unfortunately you could not attend the conferences or interviews organized by Dedica, because you were away on a school trip. If you had listened to Paul Auster’s replies to the myriad of questions he was asked, you would understand why he dedided not to mention the 9/11 tragedy. I invite you to read Valentina’s answer. It may help you understand Mr. Auster’s point.

    Jana, I think that most of you prefereed the English cover to the American one. You disclose interesting things about the image on the American dust jacket

  49. anonimo scrive:

    Listen Paul Auster’s voice reading his novel “Man in the dark” is so involving. He reads some passages with lots of emotions. Paul Auster knows how to read the words that he sees because he knows what the characters think and fell because he is the one that wrote this book.

    With his voice he creates a special atmosphere….

    The cover that I prefer is the European one because it represents maybe a forest during a night….

    But it’s not clear what there is in this cover because it’s all confuse like the protagonist August Brill.

    The questions are: How comes the idea of write this book?

    Why some of the characters the he wrote about are lonely?

    What would you like that we understand from this book?

    Denise Martin