'It was the summer that men first walked on the moon.
I was very young back then, but did not believe there would ever be a future.
I wanted to live dangerously, to push myself as far as I could go, and then see what happened when I got there.' So begins the mesmerising narrative of Marco Stanley Fogg - orphan, child of the 1960s, a quester by nature.
Moon Palace is his story - a novel that spans three generations, from the early years of this century to the first lunar landings, and moves from the canyons of Manhattan to the cruelly beautiful landscape of the American West.
Filled with suspense, unlikely coincidences, wrenching tragedies and marvellous flights of lyricism and erudition, the novel carries the reader effortlessly along with Marco's search - for love, for his unknown father, and for the key to the elusive riddle of his origins and his fate. "Clever: very. Surprising: always - Auster is a master." (The Times).
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 320 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 01/04/1990
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780571142200
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by dylanwolf
Moon Palace relates the life and travails of Marco Fogg. Packed with allusions, Auster says this of the meaning of the moon in the novel:The moon is many things all at once, a touchstone. It’s the moon as myth, as ‘radiant Diana, image of all that is dark within us’; the imagination, love, madness. At the same time, it’s the moon as object, as celestial body, as lifeless stone hovering in the sky. But it’s also the longing for what is not, the unattainable, the human desire for transcendence. And yet it’s history as well, particularly American history. First, there’s Columbus, then there was the discovery of the west, then finally there is outer space: the moon as the last frontier. But Columbus had no idea that he’d discovered America. He thought he had sailed to India, to China. In some sense Moon Palace is the embodiment of that misconception, an attempt to think of America as China. But the moon is also repetition, the cyclical nature of human experience. There are three stories in the book, and each one is finally the same. Each generation repeats the mistakes of the previous generation. So it’s also a critique of the notion of progress.Auster's novels are always an intricately woven fabric of ideas, allusions and oft-repeated themes.
Review by EricaKline
Three stories, of three men who later turn out to be Grandfather, Father and Son. They are also linked by three types of infirmity: depression, obesity and paralysis; and through Art and the West.
Review by larsmagnusnoren
My first and best total lovestory with a book. I´ve given it to lot´s of people.
Review by JonArnold
I came to Auster through a whole lot of coincidences; a few friends independently recommended him to me in the space of a few weeks and finding this in a second hand bookshop felt like destiny. Coincidence plays a large part in the unravelling of this story; characters are bound together by an unlikely web of threads and in consequence this world feels a touch smaller than it otherwise might have.It feels like an attempt to write the Great American Novel, covering a grand sweep and attempting to define the culture, people and changes over that time – the story runs from the late nineteenth century to the 1980s and from New York to California and plenty of points in between. Auster’s prose is sumptuous and lithe, often providing the odd memorable phrase but overall enchanting the reader. It’s much needed too as the lead character, named for no less than three explorers which Auster points out in a very postmodern style, reminds me of an amalgam of my worst characteristics, a selfish dreamer who ultimately pushes the rest of the world away from him in one way or the other. M S Fogg’s selfishness renders him entirely believable but makes him deeply unattractive as a lead. Added to that the novel’s tremendously downbeat, with most characters suffering fairly gruelling ordeals and any happiness is fleeting. Still, despite the characters being unlovable and the acts of attempting to fulfil your dreams and discover yourself being painted as futile, Auster’s words and his ability to wring sympathy from Fogg and company mean I look forward to making his acquaintance again.