Paul Auster is the bestselling author of The Brooklyn Follies, Oracle Night, and The Book of Illusions, among many other works. I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project Anthology, which he edited, was also a national bestseller. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
On the centennial year of Samuel Beckett's birth, Auster's new novel nods to the old master. We open with a man sitting in a room. The man doesn't remember his name, and a camera hidden in the ceiling takes a picture of him once a second. The man whom the third-person narrator calls Mr. Blank spends the single day spanned by the book being looked after, questioned and reading a fragmentary narrative written by a man named Sigmund Graf from a country called the Confederation who has been given the mission of tracking down a renegade soldier named Ernesto Land. During the course of the day, a former policeman, a doctor, two attendants and Mr. Blank's lawyer visit the room, and Mr. Blank learns he is accused of horrible crimes. (His lawyer claims he is accused of everything "from conspiracy to commit fraud to negligent homicide. From defamation of character to first-degree murder.") But this may or may not be true the narrative veers toward ambiguity. While Auster's lean, poker-faced prose creates a satisfyingly claustrophobic allegory, the tidy, self-referential ending lends a writing-exercise patina to the work. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
An old man awakens in a room he doesn't recognize and begins reading a mysterious manuscript seemingly left there for him. Kafkaesque? No, Austeresque. With a national tour; reading group guide. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Archly playful and shrewdly philosophical . . . Celebrates the power of the imagination . . . The labyrinthine nature of the mind...[A] tribute to the transcendence of stories." --Donna Seaman, Booklist"This brief work radiates in so many directions . . . that there must be involved in it some sort of magic or wizardry." --Rain Taxi"Auster has an enormous talent for creating worlds that are both fantastic and believable. . . . His novels are uniformly difficult to put down, a testament to his storytelling gifts." --Timothy Peters, San Francisco Chronicle"Auster is one of our most intellectually elegant writers. . . . Themes are hungry ghosts, Borges said. Fortunately, Auster's ghosts are insatiable." --Howard Norman, The Washington Post Book World"One of America's greats . . . The writing is a tight as ever." --Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago