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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

With the publication of his NEW YORK TRILOGY (1985-1987), MOON PALACE (1989), and THE MUSIC OF CHANCE (1990), Paul Auster has won critical acclaim as a provocative and original American novelist. LEVIATHAN opens with Benjamin Sachs being killed in a bomb blast. It was perhaps an accident, but his friend of fifteen years, Peter Aaron, thinks back over their years of friendship and comes to realize that suicide is a definite possibility. Aaron feels driven to make sense of what happened to his friend and how he came to be sitting by the road in northern Wisconsin constructing a bomb when it exploded. With the death of Sachs coming at the opening of the novel, Auster has revealed the conclusion of the story. The burden is then placed upon the narrator, Aaron, to make sense of how Sachs arrived at this tragic climax.

Sachs is no less than a compelling figure. Strongly opposed to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, he was willing to serve a prison term rather than be drafted. During his time in prison, he wrote a brilliant novel....

(The entire section is 354 words.)