Sunset Park A Novel

Paul Auster




Trade Paperback

320 Pages



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Sunset Park follows the hopes and fears of a cast of unforgettable characters brought together by the mysterious Miles Heller during the dark months of the 2008 economic collapse.

An enigmatic young man employed as a trash-out worker in southern Florida obsessively photographing thousands of abandoned objects left behind by the evicted families.

A group of young people squatting in an apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

The Hospital for Broken Things, which specializes in repairing the artifacts of a vanished world.

William Wyler's 1946 classic The Best Years of Our Lives. A celebrated actress preparing to return to Broadway.

An independent publisher desperately trying to save his business and his marriage.

These are just some of the elements Auster magically weaves together in this immensely moving novel about contemporary America and its ghosts. Sunset Park is a surprising departure that confirms Paul Auster as one of our greatest living writers.


Praise for Sunset Park

"The rules of fiction should be bent. Writers not always determined to please the reader are the ones who break new ground. Auster's renegade impulse has set him apart, earning him devoted fans . . . If his characters still mourn the passing moment even as they live in it, still yearn to hold on to the present even as it slips away—maybe that's because this nostalgia is one universal human desire, made manifest in every photograph and every novel and every effort to leave a mark."—Malena Watrous, The New York Times Book Review

"Characteristically spare, understated prose . . . [A] melancholy comedy of naive and unworldly idealists who are defeated by the obdurate reality of contemporary America in its economic, political, and moral decline . . . Sunset Park splits into myriad perspectives to include a sympathetic group portrait of people linked by circumstances as by a gigantic spider web."—Joyce Carol Gates, The New York Review of Books

"The latest and arguably most user-friendly among the whip-smart fiction canon of Paul Auster . . . [A] winning novel . . . In Sunset Park, Auster seems to carry all of humanity inside him."—Jan Stuart, The Boston Globe

"The notion of a universe of unrealized possibilities radiates throughout the book . . . At the heart of Sunset Park is [Morris] Heller's relationship with his own child, Miles, who disappeared at 21 after a family tragedy, links with other people, about the way that what we most take for granted—our families, our children, our unspoken faith in fortune—can unravel in an instant? . . . Sunset Park [is] a novel about the difficulty of finding redemption in a world defined by loss. . . . it traces a line between the personal and the collective, between individual destiny and a broader sense of flux."—David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times

"Auster doesn't repair his characters so much as he curates and bears witness to their brokenness, holding each flawed life up to the light with great tenderness and compassion. A surprising novel."—Paula McLain, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

"Paul Auster is one of those sages with confounding talent—confounding for one because he's simply that good . . . He belongs among Vonnegut, Roth, and DeLillo . . . Now is the time to herald the post-recession novel. Sunset Park looks to be it."—Claire Howorth, The Daily Beast

"Exquisitely crafted, surprisingly tender . . . A story grounded in the potent emotions of love, loss, regret and vengeance, and the painful reality of current day calamities . . . Auster fans and newcomers will find in Sunset Park his usual beautifully nuanced prose . . . [and] a tremendous crash bang of an ending."—Jane Ciabattari, NPR,"Books We Like"

"As remarkable as are Auster's skill and experience, this kind of writing—this kind of ending—takes another, rarer attribute: tremendous courage."—David Takami, The Seattle Times

"Unexpectedly searing . . . Sunset Park's prodigal-son tale is somberly poignant, a study of how deeply the urge to connect runs."—Mark Athitakis,

"Classic Auster."—Joseph Peschel, The Kansas City Star

"A haymaker of a contemporary American novel, realistic and serious as your life."—Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"A swift-moving, character-driven narrative [that] explores guilt, luck, and our enduring need for human contact and a sense of belonging. Powerful . . . Readers might find their one regret is seeing the book end."—Doug Childers, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"In Morris, Auster has created something in contemporary literature that's as rare as a left-handed catcher in baseball: a wise, compassionate yet believably human father."—Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Resonate[s] with a warm acknowledgment of the tests and limitations of age and the vibrancy of experience . . . A lovely ride."—Kate Christensen, Elle

"Auster has delivered an emotionally appealing book about the varieties of modern love . . . The son-father story is in fact the warmest line of narrative Auster has ever written, outside of the man and the dog story in his much earlier novel, Timbuktu, and it lends the entire novel a certain provident heat."—Alan Cheuse, Dallas News

"Paul Auster . . . once again proves himself equally adept at character development and emotional depth."—Bookpage

"With a plot that encompasses war in the Middle East, economic recession and the perils of the publishing industry, a contemporary vitality distinguishes the latest from the veteran author . . . Sure to please Auster fans and likely to attract new readers as well."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Passionately literary . . . every element is saturated with implication as each wounded, questing character's story illuminates our tragic flaws and profound need for connection, coherence, and beauty. In a time of daunting crises and change, Auster reminds us of lasting things, of love, art, and 'the miraculous strangeness of being alive.'"—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

"Sunset Park is sprawling but taut, toweringly ambitious in scope yet wholly intimate in the sphere of its characters' lives. While we still teeter on the brink of recession in an uncertain economic recovery—with millions still out of work and losing their homes—this novel is probably one of the most important literary touchstones of our era. And it's a true pleasure to read."—Jason Bennett, Library Journal

"A clear-eyed and muscular fable about tough economic times."—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (Pre-Pub "My Picks")

"Auster deftly balances minute details that evoke New York City, post-financial meltdown, with marvelously drawn characters bruised but unbowed by life's vicissitudes. He has an impressive array of literary nominations to his credit, but this should be the novel that brings him a broader readership."—Sally Bissell, Library Journal (starred review)

"Auster is in excellent form . . . a gratifying departure from the postmodern trickery he's known for, one full of crisp turns of phrase and keen insights."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


For almost a year now, he has been taking photographs of abandoned things. There are at least two jobs every day, sometimes as many as six or seven, and each time he and his cohorts enter another house, they are confronted by the things,...

Read the full excerpt



  • Paul Auster Reads From Sunset Park

    Paul Auster Reads From Sunset Park

  • Sunset Park by Paul Auster--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt and hear Paul Auster read from his novel Sunset Park. Luminous, passionate, expansive, an emotional tour de force, Sunset Park follows the hopes and fears of a cast of unforgettable characters brought together by the mysterious Miles Heller during the dark months of the 2008 economic collapse. Auster magically weaves together an immensely moving narrative about contemporary America and its ghosts.



  • Paul Auster

  • Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Man in the Dark, Travels in the Scriptorium, Brooklyn Follies, and Oracle Night. I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project anthology, which he edited, was a national bestseller. His work has been translated into thirty-five languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.





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