Brooklyn as a mental Arden

"Perhaps the reason so many Auster characters wind up in Brooklyn is the search for that elusive mental Arden that the borough seems to represent, a touchstone of the author’s fundamental optimism. Auster inhabits our city, its bars and stationers, bookshops and subways, its parks and sidewalks, its Chinese restaurants and candy stores, with a typical New Yorker’s sense that in the recursive folds of the city, the universe is embedded. And it’s a universe and a city that produces not just fear and trembling but sublime joys, the intensities of love and friendship, the pleasures of the street, the satisfactions of a cup of coffee or a good cigar — the happy accidents that are the great gifts of good city life."

Michael Sorkin, "On Paul Auster"

I am not a big fan of Paul Auster's fiction, but his memoirs The Invention of Solitude is one of my favorite books. Luc Sante, whose writing is so much about New York City moved to the country long ago while Auster is still happily living in Brooklyn. Perhaps Sorkin's point about Brooklyn being a mental Arden is true. I hadn't thought of our own move to Brooklyn as a search for that "elusive mental Arden," but that is just exactly what it is. 

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