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Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
Man in the Dark refers to August Brill, a 72-year-old retired literary critic recovering from an auto accident at his daughter's Vermont home. Brill can't sleep at night, and to keep from thinking about his own inner demons, Brill constructs a story in his mind where 9/11 and the war in Iraq have never happened, yet the country is torn apart by civil war when some of the states tried to secede. Only one man can end the war by assassinating the man who started the war. His dream, though, can't keep at bay thoughts about his wife's death, his daughter's marriage, and his granddaughter's fiance's brutal murder. Brill's concocted story may be unsettling and violent, but not as horrific as events in his own life that have traumatized his life. Paul Auster's novel has received positive reviews with Pop Matters saying, "This superb small novel isn't, despite initial impressions, about war or politics at all. It is about, in the face of guilt and horror, choosing whether to die and how, if that is the choice, to live. It is, at heart, about the stratagems that we, but in particular our best novelists, devise as a means of keeping us going in the face of the 'pitiless dark' that will swallow us all."