September 24, 2008
"Man in the Dark & Voice Over," PAUL AUSTER & CÉLINE CURIOL in conversation. LIVE from the NYPL Lite, September 24, 2008. In Céline Curiol's "Voice Over," a lonely young woman works as an announcer in Paris's Gare du Nord, surrounded by people yet separate from them. Alone she waits for a man who loves another. In her solitude, she wanders the streets of the modern city, playing on the edge of danger, seeking connection. "I am alone in the dark, turning the world around in my head as I struggle through another bout of insomnia, another white night in the great American Wilderness." So begins Paul Auster's "Man in the Dark." The man thinking these thoughts is a retired book critic who imagines a parallel world in which America is not at war with Iraq but with itself. In this other America, the twin towers did not fall, and the 2000 election results led to secession, as state after state pulled away from the union, and a bloody civil war ensued. Two novelists come together to talk about living and writing in a world of ordinary joys, contradictions, and impulses while always being capable of the most grotesque violence.