Nathan Glass, the novel's narrator, an ex-life insurance salesman, is sixty years-old, an divorced . When looking for a quiet place to die he opts for Brooklyn , the placewhere he was born. Nathan is alone, he has no family anymore except for his daughter. His sister, June, is dead and he has had no contact with his nephew, Tom, and his niece, Aurora, for a long time.One day, he happens to meet Tom by chance at Brightman’s Attic (Tom works there). They will hook up again, maybe because they share the same passion for literature. Tom will even become the heroof the book. Nathan, for his part, is busy writing a book entitled The Book of the Human Folly. The two men often have lunch together to talk about the past, the present and the future. That’s how Tomtells Nathan about his life in New York at the beginning and how he met Harry, his boss. Quickly, Tom introduces Harry to Nathan and Harry's past is then disclosed .
In fact, Harry is anex-art dealer, ex-millionaire, ex-convict who changed his name “Dunkel” (meaning “dark” in German) for “Brightman” and who has now paid his debt to society. He was at the heart of a forgery business withan accomplice called Gordon Dryer, a conman and art forgerer who will imitate the technique and style of Alec Smith, the late talented painter who previously worked for Harry. But one day, the scam isdiscovered and the two crooks go to jail. So much for the past! The page has been turned! One evening, Nathan, Tom and Harry meet to dine in a restaurant to know each other better, to expresstheir views about their future projects, to meditate about the finality of existence. This episode will mark the beginning of a new project for Harry, “The Hotel Existence”, an inner refuge. To fundthis project, Harry has set up a new business with... Gordon !
It is on this occasion that Tom tells Nathan he has had no news for a few years from his sister, Aurora. He just knows Aurora...
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