Friday, May 19, 2017

Dear Great Book Guru,  Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching .   I always look forward to the beautiful ceremonies throughout Sea Cliff, especially the breakfast on the front lawn of the Children’s Library, followed by the piercingly poignant parade through the Village. With this long weekend ahead, I will have lots of time to get into a good book. Do you have a recommendation?  Memorial Day Marcher

Dear Memorial Day Marcher,   Yes, this weekend is one of memory and anticipation. Summer’s future glories lie before us as we pause to remember the past. Paul Auster’s enormous (867 pages) novel 4321 captures this in a startlingly unique way.  The numbers in the title reflect the four possible lives of one young man.  In Chapter 1.0 we meet Ferguson as he is born on March  2, 1947, son of Stanley and Rose.  From then on, each of  its seven chapters is divided into four parts beginning with 1.1.  – each part offering us a different version of Ferguson’s life. Same boy – varying outcomes-  but with some constants:  he loves Amy, films, music, baseball, and writing, Rose is a photographer and Stanley, a businessman; throughout Ferguson is enmeshed in the politics and culture of the 60’s. Beyond these, we see the effects of chaos and chance.  Death comes early to one while the other three see extraordinary differences in fortune, health, love, friendship, and success.  This fascinating novel poses the question we all ask ourselves about our own lives: what if…?  Highly recommended!

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