The Book of Illusions Paperback – 2 Jun 2011
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"A nearly flawless work . . . Auster will be remembered as one of the great writers of our time."--"San Francisco Chronicle ""Mr. Auster's elegant, finely calibrated "Book of Illusions "is a haunting feat of intellectual gamesmanship."--"The New York Times ""This noirish, layered tale will keep you guessing to the very end."--"Time Out New York "
The Book of Illusions is one of Paul Auster's greatest novels, now in a stunning new look.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The unswerving compulsion to unearth, and ultimately understand, another person's identity is a theme that Auster returns to frequently in his work, in novels such as New York Trilogy and Leviathan, and yet here it is more brilliantly realised than ever. The story-within-a-story motif is ever-present but the different strands are so ingeniously interwoven that this familiar technique never seems predictable or tired. Also present is Auster's continuing fascination with the medium of film - he has written several successful screenplays for films such as Smoke and Blue in the Face - and he provides exquisitely detailed descriptions of several of Hector Mann's films.
Brimming with plot twists and turns, The Book of Illusions is a gripping, page-turning literary mystery story, but it is also a complex and genuinely moving meditation on the nature of identity and how any attempt to live vicariously through another's life will always be doomed to failure.Read more ›
The premise is interesting, the characters are well drawn and during some sections (notably the story of Hector Mann's disappearing act) I sped through it fast. Ultimatley, however, I didn't really feel Auster was offering me anything new here. Perhaps the scope was not large enough, perhaps the themes were a little too familiar, or maybe having read some of his other novels my expectations have become a little high. Of course (and I hate to admit it) maybe I just missed something!
Make no mistake, this is a good novel, and very well written, but compared to some of his others I found myself strangley uninvolved. I would recommend Leviathan or Moon Palace over this.
He leads you through back alleys, which you are sure to think are dead ends. Then as the last few pages are read the mist rises.
There is little point of going into names, plot, blar, blar, blar... just read it!
Not a 5 rating because this is reserved for the Auster's best, which has to be The New York Triology, but a delightful read with the unmistakable Auster formula (that I can't get enough of!)...
Paul Auster is a very clever writer and I enjoyed reading an author who was unfamilar to me, but I found moments of longeur in this book possibly because the main protagonist lacked empathy and had strong OCD tendencies. The book charts his breakdown over the death of his wife and sons and how he numbs his grief by immersing himself in the work of a lesser known actor of the silent film era, Hector Mann. By 'immerse', I mean we get a blow by blow analysis of every film this man has made. I felt that the knowledge of movie-making and of the life of Cateaubriand (another of his attempts to repress grief is to translate the 800 page Chateaudriand Memoir - 'Notes form the Grave') showed a lot of, possibly autobiographical, knowledge but did not make the central character sympathetic. At the end of the book, the pace quickens as the protagonist comes into contact with the dieing film artist, Hector, and he spends a surreal 24 hours on Hector's hidden ranch in New Mexico. Much of what happens to the central charater has symbolic and metaphorical significance but I did find myself a lot of the time quite confused as to what these signifiers were.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I should be a little guarded here, as, coming to this book after Kurt Vonnegut, Tim O'Brian and Kazuo Ishiguro, it had a lot to live up to. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Robert Boyd
This is a superbly written book, gripping to the end. I read Paul Auster's New York Trilogy when my son gave it to me as a Christmas gift. Read morePublished 6 months ago
How do you come across new authors? Often it's through recommendations or word of mouth, often through reviews on the internet or in newspapers and magazines. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Peter Steward
This is typical/classic Auster weaving intricate and compelling stories within stories that have you turning the pages with rapt fascination. Read morePublished 12 months ago by keen reader
Oh dear, dear, dear, dear, dear!
This had such promise - David Zimmer loses his family in plane crash, then spends his time researching
a silent era comedian, who simply... Read more
What is it about me and Paul? We just never hit it off; why I don't remember. It's like, Auster? He's the one I don't read. Read morePublished on 25 Aug. 2013 by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'