With his latest book, Invisible, Paul Auster constructs a complex tale that challenges the ideas of memory and perception, truth and fiction, or perhaps really truth within fiction. Most interestingly, he does this almost indirectly, through reader reaction rather than with plot itself. The story doesn't dwell on these themes, but the unique way he weaves it provokes the reader to ultimately question the authenticity of everything he just absorbed.
Auster does this all with such impeccable craft and compelling prose, that I felt more delighted than deceived with each twist.
Against other books, Invisible is a must-read, but taken in the context of Auster's own bibliography, it falls just shy of The New York Trilogy. It's difficult to describe why I feel that way without going into too much detail about his literary devices, but suffice to say: With each day that passes since reading this novel, I find myself more satisfied and impressed by it, but by virtue of how it was written, there was a wall that distanced me from the characters while I was reading it.
Despite all that, I devoured it and look forward to reading it again. It also inspired me to re-read his other books, which I haven't given myself the opportunity to enjoy in ages.
I devoured this book in a way that reminded me of what reading was like when I was young. Never Let Me Go is, in fact, a book for young adults, but Ishiguro proves that leading the reader through a meandering story filled with nuance allowing for interpretation is deeply satisfying in a way that puts popular youth literature to shame.
Kazuo Ishiguro's brilliance in Never Let Me Go is in his slow reveal of the most crucial plot points. He captures the mind of Kath, the main protagonist, in an way that brought this dystopian world to life and conjured memories of my own childhood that haven't risen to the surface in many years. His writing is simple, yet eloquent. The story is quietly suspenseful, and utterly captivating.
Asimov's Foundation, published in 1951, is a quick read that is impressively timeless. The world Asimov creates is elaborate and immersive, with only a few details that pull you out of this vision of the future (like his mention of newspapers and the idea of computers represented as calculators...can't fault him for either of these things, and they're only mentioned in passing anyway. Interesting sidenote, calculators themselves didn't even exist until years later because the circuitry required hadn't been invented yet).
Thematically, Foundation maintains its relevance, even over half a century later. The story is broken into 5 parts, each a snapshot of a different era. The first: a story of the decay of a cripplingly huge bureaucracy. The second: an isolated and peaceful scientific community's first encounter with an outside threat. The third: the use of science spread evangelically as religion. The fourth & fifth: the transition from religious control to economic control. In this way, Foundation felt almost like a collection of short stories in the paradoxical sense that each part was both frustratingly and satisfyingly brief.
I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the rest in the series.