- Unknown Binding
- ASIN: B002UK10AC
- Average Customer Review: 138 customer reviews
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The Book of Illusions: A Novel (Paperback) Unknown Binding – 2009
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Anyway, I had never read Paul Auster before, so I can't comment on the repetitive plots, but the writing is beautiful, and I found it completely believable, in a Kafaesque way. The strange way in which the title character seeks to atone for this perceived crime, speaks of a haunting soul who can't manage to accept the good of life until he almost meets death himself.
I would definitely recommend the book to anyone who likes a well-written read that reminds you to think of the important things in life, something some of the negative reviewers might consider. And no, I am not related to nor of acquaintance to the author. I just liked the book and don't understand how some folks can get so filled with vitriol over this book. Is it a 5 star book? Well, it's a solid 4.5 star book, and deserves more than the sum of 4 or so it has.
This overly dramatic novel just isn't my cup of tea. I prefer an emphasis on language, character, openings to dimensions of human experience previously unknown or unavailable to me.... In The Book of Illusions you will find a great deal of action, drama, "love", death... and if you like more literary versions of genre fiction, you might like it. I, however, won't likely read another Auster book.
All of this said, I admit that I liked the overheated scene between Zimmer and Alma shortly after they first meet (the one with the "pearl-handled gun," a detail which should clue you into the various dramatic cliches that fill this book). It was over the top and thrilling.
Takes us into the strange and historic world of the silent movie industry and the modern day criticism and interpretations of that art form. It also deals unflinchingly with horrific personal loss and the journey to heal. Parts of the relationship scenes were perhaps a little bit cheesy, although it is probably just personal taste and certainly not very important. This was quite a ride and after having finished it I still find myself thinking about the narrator, as though he were some kind of a friend or acquaintance...
A novel very easy to get lost in.
The philosophical questions are never hammered: they arise as naturally as evolution. What are we as individuals? What determines the past - our memory, reportage by third parties, glib gossip, acrid secrets? How planned is our universe - is there a force that places tragedy in our paths as a positive trigger to alter our existence, or is everything that happens to us accidental, or is it choreographed by those people who love/hate us? Can we truly recall our childhood or is it forever lost to adult-vantage restructuring, the only evidence we have being fading photographs that more often than not were artifically staged in the first place?
Wisely, Auster does not provide answers to these questions: his immensely interesting and engrossing story just raises them tangentially. There is a clue in the theme of the book - the Silent Movie, a form of expression solely dependent on the visual without any of the other senses involved. Is 'What we see what we get' the key to self exploration, or is that all just Illusion. This is a splendid novel on all levels, written by a pro!