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The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster
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The Book of Illusions (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Paul Auster

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3,145None1,781 (3.87)114
Member:nuwanda
Title:The Book of Illusions
Authors:Paul Auster
Info:Faber and Faber (2003), Edition: Export ed, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:fiction, american literature

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The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster (2002)

1001 (38) 1001 books (22) 21st century (20) America (14) American (61) American fiction (27) American literature (69) auster (20) cinema (19) contemporary (20) contemporary fiction (19) death (11) fiction (424) film (32) Hollywood (12) literature (40) mystery (22) novel (86) novela (13) own (11) owned (13) Paul Auster (15) postmodern (16) read (38) Roman (28) silent film (53) skönlitteratur (12) to-read (51) unread (22) USA (38)
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English (34)  Spanish (5)  French (3)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Fantastic book from the 1001 books list. A writer puts his family on a plane to meet a deadline, & the plane crashes, killing all souls on board. Spiraling into a deep depression, he nearly drinks himself to death till he happens on an obscure black & white silent comedy featuring Hector, who is himself a mystery because he was only on the movie scene long enough to create 12 films, then disappeared. Our professor decides to travel the world to see these 12 movies, which were mailed to movie houses in different cities worldwide, by a mysterious sender. At the end of this odyssey, he writes the only definitive book on Hector, & receives a letter by a woman calling herself Hector's wife, & inviting him to travel to New Mexico to see Hector before he passes away. Bit by bit, Hector's life is revealed, & it's an enthralling tale. ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 13, 2014 |
I’m not sure if I just didn’t like it or just didn’t get it. I liked parts of the story a lot, the execution just didn’t do much for me. It had the feeling of someone telling you a long story that seems interesting but in the end you’re thinking "is there a point to this?" ( )
  bongo_x | Feb 22, 2014 |
Eh. Had promising parts, but it's hard to put my finger on exactly why I didn't like it. For one thing, I think it was a mistake to have so much of the story told in flashback/past tense. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
I had heard mixed reviews about this book, but the topic interested me, so I decided to give it a shot. I have to admit that I can see both what people loved about it as well as what some others hated. My opinion is that the book was neither wholly good or bad, but rather that it had both positive and negative elements.

First of all, the concept and the rich imaginative story within a story (loved the descriptions of the movies and their story lines) were great. These were my favorite portions of the book. However, there were also moments when the plot elements felt a bit contrived. For example, I do know a large number of artists and I really can't think of any who would spend decades working on masterpieces with the intention of never showing them to anyone and insisting that these be burned within 24 hours of the artist's death. This was a disconnect for me, and it may have interfered with my enjoyment of the book some. Sometimes our own life experiences color our interpretation of a book as well as our enjoyment of it, and I think this may have been what happened for me. ( )
  Neftzger | Feb 4, 2014 |
I must say that this novel didn't hook me as much as some of Auster's other books. While the concept was intriguing, art for art's sake, traveling through time to reconstruct art and art as salvation, none of these themes are particularly novel and I didn't find their treatment very original either. I think it was the excess that bothered me, not in Frieda's actions, but in Alma's, starting with her threat with a gun.
The read itself is enjoyable: I liked Hector's adventures, the descriptions of the desert, the makeshift studio and the movies, but I found they were an excuse for a story rather than a story in itself. For me, Hector's choices and life would have had much more impact recounted through him, rather than through two characters, who although well delineated, stayed rather mysterious. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Oct 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
"Man has not one and the same life. He has many lives, placed end to end, and that is the cause of his misery" - Chateaubriand
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Everyone thought he was dead.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Knjiga iluzij by Paul Auster (2006) David Zimmer je v lealski nesreči izgubil ženo in dva otroka. Strt od žalosti se poskuša po najboljših močeh prebijati skozi dneve, ki se vlečejo v neskončnost. Nekega večera ga do smeha pripravi nemi film komika Hectorja Manna. Zimmer je navdušen nad igralcem, kj je pred več kot pol stoletja skrivnostno izginiI in o njem napiše knjigo. Kmalu po izidu Zimmer prejme skrivnostno pismo. Njegovo življenje pa začne dobivati nove razsežnosti. Kniigo i!uzij bo prepričala širok krog bralcev. sa se v njej v vznemirljivo celoto povežejo neizčrpne teme (ljuhezen. zločin, greh, iskanje identietete in smisla živIenja, zaznamovane z nespregledljivim Austrov im pečatom. (Besedilo na platnicah)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312421818, Paperback)

Vermont professor David Zimmer is a broken man. The protagonist of Paul Auster's 10th novel, The Book of Illusions, hits a period in which life seemed to be working aggressively against him. After his wife and sons are killed in an airplane crash, Zimmer becomes an alcoholic recluse, fond of emptying his bottle of sleeping pills into his palm, contemplating his next move. But one night, while watching a television documentary, Zimmer's attention is caught by the silent-film comedian Hector Mann, who had disappeared without a trace in 1929 and who was considered long-dead. Soon, Zimmer begins work on a book about Mann's newly discovered films (copies of which had been sent, anonymously, to film archives around the world). The spirit of Hector Mann keeps David Zimmer alive for a year. When a letter arrives from someone claiming to be Hector Mann's wife, announcing that Mann had read Zimmer's book and would like to meet him, it is as if fate has tossed Zimmer from one hand to the other: from grief and loss to desire and confusion.

Although film images are technically "illusions," this deft and layered novel is not so much about conscious illusion or trickery as about the traces we leave behind us: words, images, memories. Children are one obvious trace, but in this book, they are not allowed to carry their parents forward. They die early: Hector Mann losing his 3-year-old son to a bee sting just as David Zimmer has lost his two sons in the crash. The second half of The Book of Illusions is given over to a love affair, and to Zimmer's attempt to save something of Hector Mann, and of the others he has loved. In the end, what really survives of us on earth--what flickering immortality we are permitted--is left to the reader to surmise. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:59 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost film by the silent comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to study the works of this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929." "Who was Hector Mann? An Argentinian-born comic genius, with a signature white suit and fluttering black mustache, a master of "backpedals and dodges...sudden torques and lunging pavanes...double takes and hop-steps and rhumba swivels." Presumed dead for sixty years, he had flashed briefly across American movie screens, tantalizing the public with the promise of a brilliant future, and then, just as the silent era came to an end, he walked out of his house one January morning and was never heard from again." "Zimmer's research leads him to write the first full-length study of Hector's films. 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."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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