Q: What’s your favorite non-SFF book?
A: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. It’s beautifully written, and strange and compelling. Auster puts himself in the stories. Literally. Paul Auster is a character. Another character pretends to be Paul Auster. Yet, these meta-references never detract from the three stories. To me, Auster wants you to be aware that the characters you are reading about are simply reflections of his mind, and yet, despite being conscious of this throughout the book, I was still caught up in the twisting, confusing narratives, the uncertainty between fact and fiction, the ambiguity of the language, and the sense of obsession and loss of identity.
On the off chance someone thinks I’m cheating by calling something as strange as the New York Trilogy a pure, non-SFF book, then my back up would be Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. On the surface, it’s an excellent gangster novel. But dig a bit deeper and you also find these great musings on the juxtaposition between religion and atheism, between good and evil, and right and wrong.
Michael Gardner’s story “Renewal” was published on Friday, 15 September 2017.
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