I was pushing eighteen by the time I caught up with him. I'd grown to my full height of five feet five and a half inches, and Roosevelt's inauguration was just two months away. Bootleggers were still in business, but with Prohibition about to give up the ghost, they were selling off their last bits of stock and exploring new lines of crooked investment. That's how I found my uncle. Once I realized that Hoover was going to be thrown out, I started knocking on the door of every rum-runner I could find. Slim was just the sort to latch onto a dead-end operation like illegal booze, and the odds were that if he'd begged someone for a job, he would have done it close to home.
I am a big fan of Paul Auster, and Mr. Vertigo was the delight I hoped for. I actually listened to this one on audio, and the narration by Kevin Pariseau is marvelous. The book is the tale of a St. Louis street kid, nominally being raised by an uncle whose idea of raising a kid is beating him a lot, who is offered a chance to "learn to fly" by a mysterious man who approaches him out of the blue one day. The story follows Walter Clairborne Rawley as he learns from Master Yehudi and becomes "Walt the Wonderboy." Their fortunes rise and fall with the those of the era--the 1920s and 30s, and in the course of his time with Master Yehudi, Walt grows and changes from a bigoted and defensive kid, to someone much more complex. As their fortunes shift, we watch the choices Walt makes, for better and for worse, driven by dreams, loyalty, revenge, and desperation. This is a hard book to describe. It is about so many things. But I can tell you this, by the end of the novel, you may secretly believe that people can, under just the right circumstances, fly.