A night of eating&drinking
“A night of eating and drinking” ( 2 excerpts )
Introduction : what makes this chapter different
The chapter takes the form of a play within the novel ( Auster constantly reminds his reader that he is playing with words and literary genres - autobiography, picaresque ecc… ). Its writer is anonymous; consequently, Nathan, the narrator becomes a character ( how does viewpoint change this way ? )
As in a play , there are stage directions , a dialogue ( the focus is on what they say – no comment , no interpretation, plain expression of what they think ). Auster adds to this surprising chapter literary jokes and an authorial voice who promises there will not be a word about the glass of wine Nathan spills ( an episode later confirmed by Tom in the novel ).
Auster is fascinated by writers ( Thoreau, Hawthorne, Poe, Kafka )and writing and reading are fondly represented and looked upon ( “books and the mysteries of the universe” as opposed to the Fundamentalists ‘ distrust and rejection of books except for the Bible ). “ One should never underestimate the power of books” , a quote showing Auster is also speaking of his own BFollies.
1.Three men ….and a conversation
This chapter is a conversation unfolding very naturally for a while ( until Tom decides it “ leads us nowhere”. The second excerpt somehow redirects the dialogue. ) Explain who these 3 men are / what brings them together / how different they are one from the other ( age for ex ) ….and what makes them kin: - losers - disillusioned or not ? -pessimistic ? -cynical, ironical ( “The happiest men in the world “ in spite of their troubles ).
2. The topic of the conversation : the world !
The story is set against a bleak ( according to Auster ) realistic/real background : Bush is about to become President , corruption and greed rule politics and the world : the reality of daily existence and subsistence is ugly, depressing ( see Thoreau denouncing America’s