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Invisible by Paul Auster

Invisible (2009)

by Paul Auster

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,728936,027 (3.65)92

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Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
But Paris is Paris. Paris alone is real says John (who is not really John) in part IV of this novel. He has just listed all the characters in the novel and all the places they lived and worked emphasising that they have all been invented on the instructions of one of the central characters in the story and as this is basically a memoir by Adam Walker (who of course is not Adam Walker), who died before it could be completed then the reader is only certain of one thing - Paris is Paris.

This may make the novel sound complicated, but it is certainly not that. It is more or less a linear story told in four parts. Adam Walker writes in the first person in part I concerning an incident that happened 38 years ago when he was a student. A chance meeting at a party got him involved with a political lecturer Rudolf Born and his enigmatic lover Margot. Born takes a liking to Adam as does Margot and they offer to fund him in setting up a new literary magazine, an enterprise that Adam; a student of literature and would-be poet would almost give his right arm to do. Adam is seduced by Margot, but still seems to be on good terms with Born, however a violent incident occurs one evening when he is walking home with Born in a New York (not really New York) side street. A young black man is murdered and Adam is certain that Born committed the act. Born threatens Adam to keep quiet and while Adam wrestles with his conscience Born flees to Paris. What Adam did next is written in part II in the form of a manuscript which he sends to an old college friend 38 years later and is written in the second person. Adam reveals that he has only a short time to live as he is suffering from leukaemia and he begs his friend John (who is now a successful novelist) to read his story with a view to possible publication. John is intrigued and he travels to Adams home to meet him for dinner, but he is too late Adam has died 6 days earlier, but has left a series of notes as to how he wants his story to continue. John rewrites these in part III in the third person and part IV is his own investigation where he tracks down the surviving characters to discover what had happened to Adam.

The story Adam tells in his manuscript also reveals an intense incestual relationship with his sister, which she denies and so although his carefully written manuscript seems to be telling a true story almost a confessional, it could be partly or wholly a fantasy. A plausible tale written by and witnessed by different people but it is the story unfolding that makes this book such a page turner. Paul Auster is noted for his ability to turn stories on their head, to make them seem real, confessional, but just a little disorientating, so the reader cannot quite believe them. Invisible has all the hallmarks of an Auster novel; it is his fifteenth, but as well written as it is, it brings nothing new to the table. An entertainment with the usual dollops of sex and intrigue and of course the twin themes of writing and being a novelist takes another turn round the block. I enjoyed the read, but it felt like Paul Auster was writing well within himself, but still I rate it at 3.5 stars. ( )
2 vote baswood | Oct 29, 2018 |
so far, the fourth and the best austen i've had the (great) pleasure to dive myself into. it is pure genius, how he succeed in creating a universe made of truths and lies and truthful lies. sometimes, ignorance is bliss - this time, you simply are not allowed to know. ( )
  Eva_Filoramo | May 3, 2018 |
Hello Auster, my old friend

Mi sento a mio agio fra le sue parole e mi immergo nelle immagini, navigo fra i pensieri dei personaggi che incontro, il tutto con una naturalezza sconcertante. Ad ogni libro è così ed io sono ad un tratto fra braccia che mi accolgono, riconoscente per il calore che emana, sempre quello, rassicurante, familiare.
E pagina dopo pagina vengo attratta da un mondo che conosco, e quel mondo diventa la mia seconda vita, per tutto il tempo, per ogni angolo di tempo che riesco a farlo mio. E' il mio universo parallelo, è lì dove vivrei, se potessi, parlando con Adam, temendo Rudolf, ammirando Margot.
Li seguo per tutta la vita, non vorrei lasciarli più, ma devo farlo. Arriva il momento di tirare le fila, e questa volta è come nella vita vera. Non arriva alcuna rivelazione illuminante. Tutto si perde e scivola via, così come era nato. Non so se mi convince, ma è così. Come la realtà.
Ci incontreremo di nuovo, dove ci eravamo lasciati, nelle prossime anime reincarnate. Aspettami. ( )
  Magrathea | Jan 26, 2018 |
3.5 stars

For the first half or so, I wondered if this was a test: how reprehensible does a person have to be before one abandons him as such? Adam Walker just drags the reader deeper into a moral abyss. You can forgive one thing, excuse another as his age, the era, see another through the lens of insufferable grief. But then he goes a step too far, and there's no telling where else this will go.

But then... we get another perspective, calling into doubt Walker's distasteful confession. And if that part is untrue, is any of it real? Why would he confess to some transgressions, but then make some up? If he is too ill for his memory to be trusted, is any of it real?

The lure proves too much, and Walker's college friend tries to track down some truth. He seems to get some... but it only leads to more confusion about the truth of another character.

So... we're left with a bunch of characters we can't really know. If you like beautiful prose and a compelling, if convoluted, storyline, then you'll like this. If you need clear answers to all your questions, walk away from this book. It's not for you.

( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
good story - kind of a letdown at the end. read by the author - Rod Serling type of voice. going to read another auster, Book of Illusions, also read by him. Much prefer some of his other books, probably my favorite so far is Mr. Vertigo. Also loved Timbuktu and Brooklyn Follies. ( )
  DaneeM13 | Mar 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
In dem Dutzend Romane, die Auster seit der berühmten "New York-Trilogie" (1987) veröffentlicht hat, treten alle Naselang Rivalen des Erzählers auf den Plan und schildern zentrale Passagen ganz anders. Figuren, die mit Vorliebe "Paul Auster" heißen, drehen undurchsichtige Dinger, versprechen viel und halten wenig. Zu allem Überfluss umtosen - mit der Härte und Regelmäßigkeit eines Monsuns - den ohnehin betröppelten Leser theoretische Tiraden über das Gleißnerische von Sprache und Identität. Austers neuester Streich "Unsichtbar" ist da keine Ausnahme. Und eben doch.
Dette er ganske enkelt genial romankunst
Paul Auster har laget et fullkomment mysterium.
Med «Usynlig» har han kvesset skriveklørne; boka er fiks, leken, uhyggelig og så fullstendig gjennomtenkt at en gisper etter luft underveis.

Auster vet nøyaktig hva han driver med — ikke ett ord virker overflødig i hans univers, hvor mord, mysterier og incestuøse forhold kreerer kriblinger og ubehag i sofakroken.
Verglichen mit dem große Joseph Conrad kann Paul Auster relativ wenig. Aber vielleicht sollten wir Paul Auster einfach als Autor gehobener Unterhaltungsliteratur betrachten. Und da schneidet er dann plötzlich ziemlich gut ab. Seine Prosa ist wenig inspiriert, aber sie rutscht selten ins ganz Dumme, Klischeehafte ab. Seine Romanfiguren sind aus Pappmaché gemacht, aber die Konstruktion des Plots ist clever. Es gibt genug Sex und genug Crime, um den Leser bei Laune zu halten. Man verbringt einen angenehmen Nachmittag mit dem Zeug und hat hinterher nichts davon im Herzen zurückbehalten.
added by lophuels | editDie Welt, Hannes Stein (Aug 14, 2010)
Typisch Auster, zo’n spel met identiteiten en verhalen-in-verhalen. (‘Om de waarheid te vertellen, moeten we die fictionaliseren’ zegt Jim tegen het einde van de roman.) Soms leidt het tot niets, zoals in de romans van de afgelopen jaren die alledrie té bedacht, té bloedeloos en te zeer op de automatische piloot geschreven waren. Maar in Onzichtbaar werkt het, waarschijnlijk omdat de personages interessant zijn.

(...) Je zou het op basis van de bovenstaande citaten misschien niet zeggen, maar Onzichtbaar is ook stilistisch een geslaagde roman. Auster behoort niet tot de grote woordkunstenaars van de Amerikaanse literatuur; hij schrijft de meeste van zijn boeken in de ‘hardboiled’ stijl die hij zich eigen gemaakt heeft toen hij in het begin van zijn carrière detectives schreef. Maar in Onzichtbaar zijn prachtig geschreven passages te vinden (...) Des te jammerder is het dat de roman niet al te vloeiend is vertaald, of beter gezegd: een beetje ambtelijk en soms veel te letterlijk.
added by rfb | editNRC Boeken, Peter Steinz (Oct 9, 2009)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Austerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Schmitz, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I shook his hand for the first time in the spring of 1967.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312429827, Paperback)

Sinuously constructed in four interlocking parts, Paul Auster’s fifteenth novel opens in New York City in the spring of 1967, when twenty-year-old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet and student at Columbia University, meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born and his silent and seductive girfriend, Margot. Before long, Walker finds himself caught in a perverse triangle that leads to a sudden, shocking act of violence that will alter the course of his life.

Three different narrators tell the story of Invisible, a novel that travels in time from 1967 to 2007 and moves from Morningside Heights to the Left Bank of Paris to a remote island in the Caribbean. It is a book of youthful rage, unbridled sexual hunger, and a relentless quest for justice. With uncompromising insight, Auster takes us into the shadowy borderland between truth and memory, between authorship and identity, to produce a work of unforgettable power that confirms his reputation as “one of America’s most spectacularly inventive writers.” 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Poet and student Adam Walker meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born and his silent, seductive girlfriend, Margot, sending Adam into a perverse triangle that leads to a shocking act of violence that will alter his life.

» see all 8 descriptions

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