Paul Auster is perhaps the most accessible writer of those considered to be part of the “high establishment.” And you know the echelon I mean—Roth, Morrison, DeLillo, McCarthy, etc. Yet his new novel, which comes out today, is too accessible, toeing a dangerous line somewhere between the inventive plots of Jonathan Lethem (one of Auster’s own protégés) and the facile sentences of Dan Brown.
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A mere handful of novelists have attained nounhood. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch begat masochism. The Marquis de Sade lent his name to sadism. A humorous, four-line biographical verse, or clerihew, is named after Edmund Clerihew Bentley. And if you are a promiscuous and unscrupulous lover like Giacomo Casanova, then you, sir, are a Casanova.