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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Book of Illusions

by

The Book of Illusions Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

Paul Auster could be postmodernism's poster child. Structurally overt, intellectually complex, metaphorically self-conscious, Auster explores surfaces in order to dig deep and borrows classical forms in order to reveal contemporary dissonance. Among Foucault-quoting, No Logo youth worldwide, Auster is hip as a Radiohead T-shirt. And the French adore him. But don't get the wrong idea. Though there may be enough literary arcana and linguistic wordplay in his work to inspire a semiotics symposium (or two), Paul Auster is primarily a reader's writer. And never has this been more apparent than in his tenth novel, The Book of Illusions. As the story opens, Vermont professor David Zimmer has just lost his wife and child in a tragic accident. Nearly destroyed by grief, Zimmer finally escapes his self-absorption by writing a book about an obscure silent film comedian named Hector Mann, whose budding career was cut short in the twenties after he abruptly disappeared without a trace. Shortly after the book is published, Zimmer receives a note from Mann's wife asking if he would like to the meet Hector, who, it turns out, is still alive. Naturally, Zimmer accepts and becomes the first person outside of a very small circle to hear the story of Hector Mann's strange, tumultuous life. As the reader is led deeper into Mann's story, parallels between Mann's and Zimmer's lives begin to emerge, and the stories of these two wounded men become a provocative exploration of fundamental questions about art, identity, and human passion. Farley, Powells.com

Publisher Comments:

A man's obsession with a silent-film star sends him on a journey into a shadow world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love.

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost silent film by comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmer's mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico-supposedly written by Hector's wife. "Hector has read your book and would like to meet you. Are you interested in paying us a visit?" Is the letter a hoax, or is Hector Mann still alive? Torn between doubt and belief, Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.

This stunning novel plunges the reader into a universe in which the comic and the tragic, the real and the imagined, the violent and the tender dissolve into one another. With The Book of Illusions, one of America's most powerful and original writers has written his richest, most emotionally charged work yet.

Review:

"Through all its dark and delightful twists and turns The Book of Illusions is suffused with warmth and illuminated by its narrator's hard-won wisdom. This artful and elegant novel may be Auster's best ever." Peter Carey

Review:

"An enthralling new summit in Paul Auster's art." Jonathan Lethem

Review:

"A nearly flawless work...Auster will be remembered as one of the great writers of our time." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Mr. Auster's elegant, finely calibrated Book of Illusions is a haunting feat of intellectual gamesmanship." The New York Times

Review:

"This noirish, layered tale will keep you guessing to the very end." Time Out New York

Review:

"One of his finest [novels]: an elegant meditation on the question of whether an artist or his public 'owns' the work he creates, and a thickly plotted succession of interlocking mysteries reminiscent of his highly praised New York Trilogy...gripping and immensely satisfying." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"An older and wiser Auster has added a new ingredient to the metaphysical play and deft storytelling, a sadness that colors all illusion, that creates a stunningly moving and very real portrait of a man over-marked by death....It is a story of unspeakable grief told with virtuousic brilliance, which Auster finally brings safely to Earth with a very human simplicity." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

In this rich and emotionally charged work, a man's obsession with a silent film star sends him on a journey into a shadowy world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love.

Synopsis:

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost film by silent comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmer's mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico inviting him to meet Hector. Torn between doubt and belief, Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.

The Book of Illusions is, in the words of Peter Carey, “suffused with warmth and illuminated by its narrators hard won wisdom. This artful and elegant novel may be Auster's best ever.”

Synopsis:

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost film by silent comedian Hector Mann. Zimmers interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmers mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico inviting him to meet Hector. Torn between doubt and belief, Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.

The Book of Illusions is, in the words of Peter Carey, “suffused with warmth and illuminated by its narrators hard won wisdom. This artful and elegant novel may be Austers best ever.”

Synopsis:

A man's obsession with a silent-film star sends him on a journey into a shadow world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost silent film by comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmer's mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico-supposedly written by Hector's wife. "Hector has read your book and would like to meet you. Are you interested in paying us a visit?" Is the letter a hoax, or is Hector Mann still alive? Torn between doubt and belief, Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.

This stunning novel plunges the reader into a universe in which the comic and the tragic, the real and the imagined, the violent and the tender dissolve into one another. With The Book of Illusions, one of America's most powerful and original writers has written his richest, most emotionally charged work yet.

About the Author

Paul Auster's previous novel, Timbuktu, was a national bestseller, as was I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project anthology, which he edited. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Book of Illusions is his tenth novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

John Curtis, August 27, 2012 (view all comments by John Curtis)
I'll be brief: This is an amazing book, the kind I might have read in one ten-hour sitting, if life hadn't intervened. (As it was, I read it in a long weekend.) This was my first Auster book, recommended by a friend, but I will most certainly be back. There are layers upon layers within this book for academic analysis, but please, choose this book if you are looking for a completely absorbing story, thrilling for the mind as well as the heart.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805054088
Subtitle:
A Novel
Editor:
Auster, Paul
Editor:
Auster, Paul
Author:
Auster, Paul
Publisher:
Picador
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Missing persons
Subject:
Comedians
Subject:
Silent films
Subject:
Biographers
Subject:
Widowers
Subject:
Absence and presumption of death.
Subject:
Aircraft accident victims' families
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
PRB 01-14E
Publication Date:
September 2002
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.1 x 5.4 x 1.1 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Book of Illusions Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805054088 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Through all its dark and delightful twists and turns The Book of Illusions is suffused with warmth and illuminated by its narrator's hard-won wisdom. This artful and elegant novel may be Auster's best ever."
"Review" by , "An enthralling new summit in Paul Auster's art."
"Review" by , "A nearly flawless work...Auster will be remembered as one of the great writers of our time."
"Review" by , "Mr. Auster's elegant, finely calibrated Book of Illusions is a haunting feat of intellectual gamesmanship."
"Review" by , "This noirish, layered tale will keep you guessing to the very end."
"Review" by , "One of his finest [novels]: an elegant meditation on the question of whether an artist or his public 'owns' the work he creates, and a thickly plotted succession of interlocking mysteries reminiscent of his highly praised New York Trilogy...gripping and immensely satisfying." (starred review)
"Review" by , "An older and wiser Auster has added a new ingredient to the metaphysical play and deft storytelling, a sadness that colors all illusion, that creates a stunningly moving and very real portrait of a man over-marked by death....It is a story of unspeakable grief told with virtuousic brilliance, which Auster finally brings safely to Earth with a very human simplicity."
"Synopsis" by , In this rich and emotionally charged work, a man's obsession with a silent film star sends him on a journey into a shadowy world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love.
"Synopsis" by , Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost film by silent comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmer's mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico inviting him to meet Hector. Torn between doubt and belief, Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.

The Book of Illusions is, in the words of Peter Carey, “suffused with warmth and illuminated by its narrators hard won wisdom. This artful and elegant novel may be Auster's best ever.”

"Synopsis" by ,
Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost film by silent comedian Hector Mann. Zimmers interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmers mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico inviting him to meet Hector. Torn between doubt and belief, Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.

The Book of Illusions is, in the words of Peter Carey, “suffused with warmth and illuminated by its narrators hard won wisdom. This artful and elegant novel may be Austers best ever.”

"Synopsis" by ,
A man's obsession with a silent-film star sends him on a journey into a shadow world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost silent film by comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmer's mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico-supposedly written by Hector's wife. "Hector has read your book and would like to meet you. Are you interested in paying us a visit?" Is the letter a hoax, or is Hector Mann still alive? Torn between doubt and belief, Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.

This stunning novel plunges the reader into a universe in which the comic and the tragic, the real and the imagined, the violent and the tender dissolve into one another. With The Book of Illusions, one of America's most powerful and original writers has written his richest, most emotionally charged work yet.

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