Paul Auster

Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster

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“Mr. Vertigo” is a novel written by American author Paul Auster. It was first published in 1994. The book tells the story of a young orphan named Walter Claireborne Rawley, who embarks on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery and adventure.

The narrative is set in the early 20th century and is primarily narrated by Walter himself. At the age of nine, Walter is plucked from his life of poverty in St. Louis by a mysterious and enigmatic character known as Master Yehudi. Master Yehudi promises to teach Walter the art of levitation, granting him the ability to fly. Intrigued and fascinated by the prospect, Walter agrees to become Master Yehudi’s student and embarks on a life-changing journey.

Under Master Yehudi’s tutelage, Walter learns various physical and mental disciplines in order to master the art of levitation. The process involves rigorous training, both physically and mentally, as Walter attempts to conquer his fear and transcend the limitations of his own body. Throughout his training, he encounters numerous obstacles and faces personal challenges that test his determination and resilience.

As Walter progresses in his training, he becomes known as “Mr. Vertigo” and gains fame as a vaudeville performer, showcasing his ability to levitate in front of audiences. However, as he becomes more renowned, Walter finds himself torn between the allure of fame and the desire to find true meaning and purpose in his life.

“Mr. Vertigo” explores themes of identity, ambition, the pursuit of extraordinary abilities, and the search for meaning in one’s existence. It delves into the complex relationship between teacher and student, as well as the sacrifices one must make to achieve greatness.

Paul Auster’s novel is known for its lyrical prose, vivid characterization, and a touch of magical realism. “Mr. Vertigo” is a captivating tale that combines elements of coming-of-age, adventure, and introspection, inviting readers to contemplate the nature of human potential and the price one must pay for pursuing extraordinary dreams.


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