News & Reviews
Book of the Month – January 2024
Sometimes a book is so close to the bone that one wonders where the author ends and the fiction begins. So it is in Baumgartner, our January Book of the month, by Paul Auster, one of Sally’s favourite contemporary authors. A meditation on loneliness, ageing, love and loss, Baumgartner is Auster’s 20th novel, and may be one of his sweetest.
A hopeful, gratifying, life-affirming little book.
Sy Baumgartner is a retired Princeton Philosophy professor. Together with his wife Annie he has enjoyed a rarefied existence, a life of letters, friends and quiet contemplation. When Annie dies in a freak accident he is lost in thick grief. Rallying, he embarks on a new romance only to find his new feelings alien and uncomfortable, his vision of the future unrequited.
It is hard to describe how a book that might sound so sad can be so life-affirming and so hopeful.
One New York Times review compared Baumgartner to the classic A Grief Observed, by C.S Lewis. It’s an apt comparison. Both meditate on the incredible pleasure of falling, and staying in love. Both understand that loss is the consequence of love, and life’s hardest lesson. -Sally