Set against the current recession this novel is about a group of people squatting in an abandoned house in Sunset Park, a rundown part of Brooklyn, New York.
It centres on the enigmatic Miles Heller, son of an esteemed publisher and famous actress, who has been on the run from his family for seven years after the accidental death of his stepbrother which he feels responsible for. He shares the house with a bunch of young outsiders and misfits trying to make sense of their lives.
The characters all tell their story from their own, isolated point of view, perhaps because the writer wanted to stress their lack of connection with their surroundings.
Sadly this approach doesn’t show the characters interacting, making it hard to draw your own conclusions about their evolving relationships.
Auster’s books tend to be serious, grim affairs and this dark tale won’t be for everyone. First-timers should perhaps first try his more accessible Man in the Dark (2008).