'By the time Nashe understood what was happening to him, he was past the point of wanting it to end ...' Paul Auster fuses Samuel Beckett and The Brothers Grimm in this brilliant and unsettling parable. Following the death of his father, Jim Nashe takes to the open road.
But there he picks up Pozzi, a hitchhiking gambler, and is drawn into a dangerous game of high-stakes poker with two eccentric and reclusive millionaires.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 05/01/2006
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780571229079
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Review by Eyejaybee
An intriguing story about resilience and endeavour.The principal character is Jim Nashe, a Boston firefighter who unexpectedly inherits a minor fortune from his hitherto absent father. After making provision for his young daughter Juliette, who is being brought up by his sister, Jim leaves his job and decides to go driving around the country, with no particular plan or itinerary in mind. He has several one night stands on the way, and even starts an "occasional" relationship with a former acquaintance whom he meets by chance in a bookstore.Then, after several months, he chances up Jack Pozzi (known as "Jackpot") who is virtually crawling up the road after a brutal beating. Jim picks him up and is fascinated by his story. It turns out that Jack is a wannabe professional poker player who is hoping to participate in a game with two bizarre multi-millionaires. As the reader has always known he would, Jim offers to stake Jack in the game.The description of the game is brisk and avoids any technicalities (which is fortunate as they would have meant nothing whatsoever to me), but keeps the reader's attention at full tension. And that is when the fun starts!There is always a great economy about Auster's writing, with no hint of frill or embellishment (- as you have probably guessed I was trying to avoid the obvious pun of "austerity", though that is perhaps "le mot juste"), and this novel shows no departure from that. As usual, at the most basic level the events depicted are scarcely credible. However, as one reads it one's disbelief is entirely suspended, and the book is utterly beguiling and engrossing - I virtually read it at a single sitting.