The Book of Illusions


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Paul Auster

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I was too tired while reading this to devote adequate attention to that. I was encouraged, however, to read more of Auster. View all 19 comments. Apr 02, BlackOxford rated it did not like it Shelves: american. And this includes an immense amount of random detail of relevance to neither the plot nor the characters. The result is a fair short story imitating a rather bad middling size novel. One important thing happens in the entire book - the accidental death of a young woman.

The plot revolves around this death but on threads which seem to be thrown aimlessly into narrative space. He informs the reader at great length about his perceptions but nothing about their meaning for him.

The Book of Illusions

Eventually he discovers love and redemption sweet and then carelessly loses that. The academic has written a book about him and believes him dead. He is not; but he is dying. The academic is ambivalent but agrees to meet the ex-actor for reasons that are as unclear as all the other motivations in the story. All the characters seem to exist in a fog-like drift of haplessness among the unlikely course of their lives. They wander into and out of relationships without reason.

They do strange things - insult colleagues needlessly and maliciously, threaten others half-heartedly at gunpoint, attempt suicide both inadvertently and with intent , stop and start careers casually from sports goods retailing to the sex trade for example - which punctuate otherwise pointless lives. The protagonist spends a great deal of his inherited wealth making films that no one else is intended to see. The flatness of the prose is deadening. There is little relief from the endless dump of uninspired description.

Dramatic structure is entirely absent. Events follow each other with no cumulative effect.


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There is a vague tension that something significant is about to happen. But it never does. What does happen is yet another episode leading nowhere, literary coitus interruptus. I blame myself. Nonetheless, I am left with the feeling of having spent more than several long hours listening to a drunk uncle at a wedding party. My only ambition is to get away before he starts another chapter of family history about people I care nothing about.

Review: Fiction: The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

View all 27 comments. Being drawn into Paul Auster's fiction was one of the reasons my reading became more widespread. This story grabbed me from the off, and was indeed difficult to put down. Ok so he is an acquired taste, but there is just something about his writing that hooks you in and doesn't let go so easily. The story here is both captivating and strangely mysterious. It's all about digging into the past in quite an obsessive manner, just who was Hector Mann? Could the great silent film star have been pulling the wool over everyone's eyes all this time? Traversing through the American mid-west and finally New Mexico, nothing could prepare Zimmer for just what is about to follow This could be viewed as the brother to 'The New York Trilogy', covering roughly the same sort of ground in places here, but whereas TNYT had cold complexities that either sucked you in, or drove you away, this although complex, has a warmer feel to it and by far is easier to read.

Hardcore Auster fans may view this as not his best, but I was totally immersed from start to finish, even if it wasn't the ending I was crying out for. A dazzling masterpiece of fiction! View all 7 comments. Feb 17, Jill rated it really liked it. By reading this book I have become a die-hard Auster fan. The man is amazing. So clever, so imaginitive, so poetic and almost profound. This book rambles, and in doing so touches on so many intertwined narratives that one almost gives up on what was assumed to be the original plot and assumes the opening catch phrase was just another Paul Auster smoke screen story line.

But this one, even in creating such an intricatedly woven network of a character experiences, never looses sight of its ultimat By reading this book I have become a die-hard Auster fan.

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But this one, even in creating such an intricatedly woven network of a character experiences, never looses sight of its ultimate goal - to explain how the supposed disapearance of a silent film actor affected the life of a professor and widower from Detroit. The world created in this book is done with such care and is so full of unexpected and tangential details that I found myself wondering if I wasn't perhaps reading a work of historical fiction rather than just a plain old novel.

It's an amazingly well crafted narrative, heartwrenching and hopeful at the same time. A man's life is an illusion to all except those who share in it. View all 3 comments. Dec 28, Erik rated it really liked it Shelves: detailed-review , bepretentious. Paul Auster, you bastard! The man writes such depressing stuff. To explain myself I should say that I follow the Roger Ebert school of criticism.

Dead men do tell tales

Roger Ebert cares more about how a movie makes him feel than on its technical merits. Granted, this is rather less valid in the medium of words on a page than the sound and fury of fi Paul Auster, you bastard!

Granted, this is rather less valid in the medium of words on a page than the sound and fury of film, but I still stick to it. I have no problem trashing Plath's Bell-jar, regardless of its supposed literary merit or historical significance, because it bored and annoyed me. But getting to the point of this book, let me break it down for you literary thugs: there is a man whose family dies in an accident.

He is depressed, but then he sees a silent comedy on TV and laughs for the first time in long while.

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The Book of Illusions – The American Mag

He then decides to write about the star of this silent comedy, a man named Hector Mann. In the course of this, he finds out that Hector Mann disappeared, but he may actually still be alive!!! Stuff ensues, there are some themes brought up, there's some angst, there's some sex, you know the drill. And don't worry none of that's spoiler material, all on the first page basically.

Worth reading for a few pieces of stellar writing. I was particularly impressed by how Auster writes about a film that doesn't actually exist. I bought into it, I was convinced. It's a story within a story within a story within a story ad nauseam , and it's true that the inner stories are better told than the outer ones. I'm cool with that.

The Book of Illusions The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions The Book of Illusions
The Book of Illusions

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