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Das Buch der Illusionen : Roman by Paul…

Das Buch der Illusionen : Roman (original 2002; edition 2012)

by Paul Auster, Werner Schmitz

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,534532,137 (3.87)143
Title:Das Buch der Illusionen : Roman
Authors:Paul Auster
Other authors:Werner Schmitz
Info:Reinbek bei Hamburg Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verl. 2012
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster (2002)

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» See also 143 mentions

English (39)  Spanish (6)  French (3)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
“What matters is not how well you can avoid trouble, but how you cope with trouble when it comes.”

"Everyone thought he was dead." is the opening sentence of this book and refers to Hector Mann, a 1920's silent film actor who had mysteriously disappeared in 1929. Nearly sixty years later Professor David Zimmer life unravels when his wife and two young sons plummet seven miles to their deaths in a plane crash. Zimmer disappears into zombie-like world mired in alcoholic grief and self-pity. Six months later whilst channel surfing in the early hours of the morning Zimmer stumbles across a screening of a Hector Mann movie. He finds himself laughing and released from his acute pain for the first time since his family's deaths and decides to seek out Mann's other works. In doing so he finds himself drawn into a shadowy nether world of death, lies and unexpected love, tracking down one man so that he might lose himself.

Mann was a talented actor in a white suit and an expressive moustache but just as his career seemed to be taking off suddenly vanished. Zimmer spends hours alone in tiny viewing theatres studying all of Mann's films learning a little about the man's public life along the way. When Zimmer has a book published about the films he mysteriously receives an invitation to meet the actor himself. Zimmer is sceptical and intrigued in the same measure.

Zimmer discovers that Mann is not dead after all and with the help of the actor's sort of adopted daughter finds himself in the New Mexico desert only to arrive hours before the reclusive old man's death. Along the way he learns a little of what actor has been doing since his disappearance as well as unexpected love.

This then is a Gothic detective story where the dead have all the best lines, "when our backs are right up against the wall. You have to die first to know how to live." There is a crime, there is love, loss and guilt, along with many of the usual Gothic elements ( murderer, prostitute, deceived wench, hidden body and a secret book). Both men hit rock bottom and been raised up again; both feel guilt and the need to do penance.

On a couple of occasions the prose felt a little forced but generally I found this a powerfully written tale. I loved the depiction of Mann's films, I could almost view them in my mind's eye but I felt the image of Zimmer playing with his sons' Lego and burying his face in his wife's clothes that still smell of her perfume was particularly powerful and poignant. Each man's life has echoes in the other's and sometimes I wondered whether the author had overdone this element but all the same I found myself unwilling to put the book down, always wanting to read the next chapter. A very enjoyable read. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Aug 15, 2018 |
The narrative voice drew me in on the first page. My curiosity was piqued and I had to find out more. David Zimmer has become a recluse and an alcoholic following the sudden deaths of his wife and two young sons in an aeroplane crash. one night when watching a silent movie on TV he finds himself laughing. Intrigued by this funny man, actor, Hector Mann of the silent movies he does some research and discovered that he disappeared 60 years ago and is presumed dead. He embarks on a journey which takes him around the world to view his other movies. He writes a book on Hector based on his research. After the book is released he receives a letter inviting him to meet Hector.
The story is multi-layered, as we not only follow David's journey and recovery from is grief but also the life of Hector Mann and within that some of the characters created in his movies. This story is deftly executed with mounting tension and a final reveal in the closing pages. ( )
  HelenBaker | Jul 11, 2018 |
ოსტერის სტილი მომწონს, ადვილად იკითხება და კარგად ახერხებს მკითხველის სხვადასხვა ამბებში ჩათრევას, მაშინაც კი როდესაც ამბავს უბრალოდ გასაღები არ აქვს.
მაგრამ ცოტა არ იყოს მომბეზრდა რაღაცეები, მაგალითად:
1. მთხრობელი თითქმის ყოველთვის მწერალია (მთარგმნელი, ლიტერატურის პროფესორი) და ვერმონტში, ახალ ინგლისში, ან ნიუ იორკში ცხოვრობს.
2. მთხრობელი ყოველთვის დეპრესიული ტიპია, ცოლ-შვილი თითქმის ყოველთვის მკვდარი ყავს, ავია ან ავტო კატასტროფაში.
3. ერთია როცა მწერალი გთავაზობს ინტრიგას რომელიც საბოლოოდ პერსონაჟის შინაგან სამყაროს ან სიტუაციის ასახვას ემსახურება, მაგრამ მეორე როცა ინტრიგა არაფერს ემსახურება.

საერთო ჯამში საინტერესო წიგნია, მაგრამ უკეთესს ველოდი, ცოტა განსხვავებულს იმისგან რაც წამიკითხავს, კითხვისას არ მშორდებოდა იმის განცდა რომ ოსტერი ყოველ ნოველაში საკუთარ პროტიტიპებს სვავს.
საინტერესო პერსონაჟებიდან გამოვყოფდი მხოლოდ ჰექტორს და ისიც გარკვეულ მომენტებში. ასევე ცოტა ზედმეტად მომეჩვენა სილვია და მასთან დაკავშირებული ამბავი. ( )
  Misha.Kaulashvili | Aug 22, 2016 |
Picked it up in an airport bookstore in Denver on my first trip to Tacoma. It is beautifully written. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
Not a good book. Wasnt sure what the author was trying to tell :-(. ( )
  _RSK | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
David Zimmer, professor in Vermont, verliest zijn vrouw en twee zoontjes bij een vliegtuigongeluk. Zes maanden lang brengt hij de dag door in een waas van dronkemanstranen en zelfmedelijden. Op een avond ziet hij op televisie een stukje van een verloren gegane stomme film, gemaakt door een komiek, Hector Mann. Voor het eerst in maanden moet hij lachen. En voor hij het weet heeft hij zich ingegraven in het leven van de mysterieuze Mann, die van de aardbodem verdween in 1929.
Zimmer schrijft de eerste serieuze studie van Manns werk en houdt zo het verdriet op draaglijke afstand. Een jaar na de verschijning van het boek krijgt hij een brief van iemand die beweert de vrouw van Mann te zijn. Hij wordt uitgenodigd Mann te komen bezoeken. Is dit een grap of leeft Hector Mann echt nog? Zimmer aarzelt. Dan verschijnt op een avond een vreemde vrouw aan zijn deur, en zij neemt de beslissing voor hem. Dat verandert zijn leven voor altijd.
Een met een adembenemende precisie en dwingende noodzaak geschreven roman, een boek dat de lezer onderdompelt in een universum waar het komische en het tragische, realiteit en verbeelding, geweld en tederheid samenvloeien.

*Auster is het beste soort import uit Amerika: een experimenteel schrijver die een groot publiek aanspreekt. - The Guardian

*Deze kunstieg en elegante roman zou weleens Austers beste boek tot nu toe kunnen zijn. - Peter Carey

*Een bedwelmend nieuw hoogtepunt in het oeuvre van Auster. - Jonathan Lethem

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Austerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bocchiola, MassimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flothuis, MeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gómez Ibáñez, BenitoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roseen, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmitz, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:23 -0400)

(see all 5 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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