Suzanne Ruta
September 25, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Leviathan

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Paul Auster
publisher
Viking
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A-

Leviathan is an elegy for the ’60s, a parable of democracy decayed, a moral soap opera, a fine portrait of middle-aged friends. Baby boomer Ben Sachs goes to jail rather than fight in Vietnam. In the ’80s he discovers a vocation for violent protest. The ever- inventive Auster transmutes coincidence into destiny, gossip into history, or nearly. The steady stream of New York stories, arty couples marrying and divorcing, doesn’t quite sustain his larger meaning about national decline. What’s missing? The rest of the country, calories, heartland, and heart. Not the great American antinovel then, but a swift, entertaining tale full of ideas. A-

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