Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster – A Book Review

I have to tell you, I am more than impressed with Paul Auster.  The only other work I’ve read of his is the collection The New York Trilogy, and I took him as essentially an experimental writer who deals more with theme than storyline.

Mr. Vertigo proved me wrong and then some.  The plotline is preposterous, and every time I tell someone about the book they look at me like I’m nuts.  That being said, Mr. Vertigo is about a young orphan from St. Louis who is recruited by the enigmatic Master Yehudi.  Master Yehudi promises that he will teach the boy, named Walter Rawley, to walk on air.  And, lo and behold, he does.

Crazy, I know.

But, Auster writes it in such a delightful, realistic fashion that never once do you doubt what you read.  And his dialogue is pure joy.  I love the speech patterns his characters employ.

Of course, there is much more to the novel than Walt simply learning to walk on air, but I won’t ruin it for you.  Let me just tell you that as fanciful as this book sounds, there are some grim realities in it, some perhaps too potent for just the casual reader. 

Remarkably, as the story begins in the late 1920s, Walt’s tale mirrors that of his native homeland, the USA.  His ups and downs match America’s in such a way that a real study of theme could be employed just as with The New York Trilogy.

You will greatly enjoy this novel, and I daresay you’ll be stunned at how connected to the characters you will become.