In Mr. Vertigo, his dazzling eighth novel, Paul Auster introduces a quintessentially American hero who, early in his life, masters the art of the unimaginable, and then must live out his days long after the magic has been lost and forgotten.
It is 1927, the year of Babe Ruth and Charles Lindbergh - and of Walter Claireborne Rawley, a streetwise orphan from Saint Louis who becomes "Walt the Wonder Boy," a diminutive showman famous for stunning audiences across the country with his feats of levitation.
Walt's teacher is Master Yehudi, a mysterious iconoclast who rescues him from poverty and instills in him the faith, fearlessness, and devotion to hard work essential to such a magnificent venture. Inevitably, Master Yehudi and Walt fall prey to the sinners thieves, and villains of America in its pre-depression heyday, from the Kansas Ku Klux Klan to the Chicago mob, and Walt's resilience, like that of his young nation, is over and again challenged.
Paul Auster, a "literary original" (Wall Street Journal) whose "bounties of intelligence, mystery and literary magic nourish and delight the mind" (Chicago Sun-Times), embraces both the realist and the mythic traditions in American literature. Walt and Yehudi are classic entrepreneur adventurers, and what they sell in Walt's performance is defiance of the natural laws governing men. This is an extraordinary, exuberant novel that captures the aspirations and excesses of a country ready to soar.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - browner56 - LibraryThing
Mr. Vertigo tells the life story of Walter Claireborne Rawley, from his boyhood as an orphan in St. Louis during the 1920s to his reflections as an old man some 70 years later. The pivotal event for ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - technodiabla - LibraryThing
I do not generally like magical realism but this book was amusing and touching and the magic was well integrated into the story. The story is told from the point of view of an orphan in 1920s America ... Read full review