More Magical Narrative Twists And Turns,
This review is from: Oracle Night (Paperback)
This 2003 novel by Paul Auster is another absorbing read from a master storyteller, full of Auster's infectious prose and (even at only around 200 pages) levels of narrative invention that most modern novelists can only dream about. Once again, Auster touches on his common themes of chance, coincidence, identity, dreams, unrealised ambition, unspoken truths and human frailty as he tells his story of 30-something author Sidney Orr and his attempts to rediscover his writing inspiration following the acquisition of a mysterious blue note-book from a New York stationery store. As he has done before, Auster makes particularly good use of the 'novel within a novel' concept, as Sidney embarks upon a new book (indeed this 'embedded' novel is arguably even more compelling than Auster's 'outer' narrative). Auster also creates compelling characters in Sidney's wife, Grace, and good friend John Trause and it is this triumvirate whose inter-relationships provide the basis for the major narrative strands in Oracle Night.
My only reason for rating Oracle Night as a four, rather than five, star read is that I feel that Auster probably does not do justice to the many ideas contained within (particularly that relating to his 'novel within a novel'), and that his conclusion, whilst narratively believable, is something of a cop-out given the compelling nature of what has gone before. I consider other of Auster's short(er) novels (for example The Music Of Chance and Timbuktu) provide a more complete, satisfying read, whilst other longer novels such as Moon Palace, The Book Of Illusions and Mr Vertigo are also superior to Oracle Night. Nevertheless, Oracle Night is still well worth reading (and could easily be devoured in a single sitting).