By Denise Turney
A series of short stories taken from real life events comprise The Red Notebook. The first story takes place more than three decades ago in 1972. It starts on a bleak note when a friend of the author’s find herself in legal straits. As the events of the story unfold the situation worsens. Then a startling turn of events find the story taking a most unexpected turn. It is a feeling that becomes familiar while reading The Red Notebook. Soon readers learn not to guess how each story will end because life does not remain on anyone’s predicted course.
Unlike a biography or autobiography, The Red Notebook is written with a style that allows its readers to feel a part of the story. There is no need for character or scene development because each of the stories is true. Yet Paul Auster, the book’s author, must recreate the stories in such a way that readers not present during the real-life events feel the stories touch upon their lives in some profound and unseen way. Paul pulls this off fantastically.
The writing is vivid. It is almost like having a lucid dream. As the author shares near the end of the book, “My life has been filled with dozens of curious events like this one, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to shake free of them. What is it about the world that continues to involve me in such nonsense? . . . Then I opened the package. There was a thin book of poetry inside. . . . ”
These last words are the gist of what The Red Notebook is about. It may be impossible to enjoy this short book without reflecting on the uncanny events or unexplainable events (that led to a larger cause) that have happened upon your own life. The author has been heralded for his imaginative power for the work he has created with his novels: The New York Trilogy, Moon Palace, Mr. Vertigo and Timbuktu. Howbeit, this gem of a book is no novel. It is the truth and what a wonderful way Paul Auster has of sharing his life’s truth with his many fortunate readers.
Review by Denise Turney
Author of Portia, Love Has Many Faces and Spiral
Visit Denise online at http://www.chistell.com.