Moon Palace, a strange and arresting new novel by Paul Auster, follows a flurry of outré offerings by this prolific American author. Though barely in his forties, Auster is already well known for his writings in a variety of fields—translations of Frenchmen from Mallarmé to Sartre; original poetry, including the collections Unearth (1974) and Wall Writing (1976); a poignant memoir entitled The Invention of Solitude (1982); and the recent novel In the Country of Last Things (1987). Perhaps Auster’s best-known productions, however, remain the novels of his New York Trilogy, which received considerable attention—and no small amount of critical acclaim—on their small-press publication in 1985 and 1986. Indeed, though Moon Palace is not a part of the trilogy, its thematic ties to these three novels are very strong, and a...


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