Paul Auster


There is a review (the first real review I've spotted) of The Book of Illusions online at - from what the guy says, it sounds like this is his best since moon palace . . . I cannot wait!!!

>>By green tom tom   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:57)

You could also try for lots of other reviews on 'The Book of Illusions' as well as his films, poems, translations etc.

>>By Stuart   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:57)

have you read it now? do you think it lives up to the (glowing, from what i've seen) reviews?

>>By mirth   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:57)

I think that he is the best writer in whole world!!!!

>>By Paul Auster   (Sunday, 2 Feb 2003 10:53)

I'd definitely say that 'Book of Illusions' is Auster's greatest work this far. I dare saying that I've read most of his works (some translated to Swedish, others in English), and his latest one does really cheer one up and point to the grand parts of living.

>>By Tommy   (Saturday, 10 May 2003 01:16)

Auster's books are the best I've ever read. My favorite of the last things (?).
My e-mail adress:
If you want to talk about Paul Auster and his books, you can write.

>>By Malwina from Poland   (Saturday, 10 May 2003 13:00)

how do the swedish translations measure up against the english?

i liked the last one a great deal, particularly his descriptions/explications of the films, which turn voyeurism inside out. _moon palace_ is still a difficult one to top, though, for its freshness...

do you think that _the book of illusions_ is auster's most ambitious so far?

>>By mir i sputnik   (Sunday, 11 May 2003 05:52)

I'm so sorry: IN THE COUNTRY OF LAST THINGS! :( I'm not enough good in English :(

>>By Malwina from Poland   (Sunday, 11 May 2003 20:47)

The hungarian translation is crap but the book's good. Read more Auster!

>>By eva zanin from Hungary   (Tuesday, 13 May 2003 12:31)

Wow. Book of Illusions is great. It has haunted me since I finished the story over a month ago. It's so evocative and creepy -- as it moves forward and drags you with it, you have this sense that it ends darkly... and indeed it does. Do any of you other Auster fans feel there may be some secret hidden in that strange book given to the narrator just as he leaves the ranch? It bugs me! I feel there must be some code in the particular plants he noted during the plane trip back east!! Or perhaps Auster has just planted a little seed of paranoia in me. I now see ghosts and mysteries where there are none. Great book.

>>By drop   (Wednesday, 18 Jun 2003 00:49)

not sure about the botany book, but remember david's reaction to reading it: " look at the photos in that book was to feel that nothing had ever happened [in New Mexico], that its entire history had been erased" (295). he copies the names of the plants into the notebook in which he'd previously taken notes on hector's journal and _the inner life of martin frost_, both "histories" of sorts that had been erased.

i don't know if there's a "code" in the plant names he noted, but there is, as david notes, an intrinsic musicality to their names. they conjure images of the things for which the plants were named, but divorced from a context (of the plants, of a time and place), they lose their (arbitrarily assigned, manmade, subjective?) meaning. david later sees his list of names as "near gibberish, a random collection of syllables from a dead language."

there's something desperate and perhaps valiant in people's (often failed) attempts to understand, organize, and record/relate experiences via text and art. think of the notebooks in the new york trilogy. or _leviathan_.

how do david's memoirs and his translation of chateaubriand fit into the scheme of things? what does it mean to bring something back from the "dead" (a word that recurs throughout the book)m and how is the process related to writing/recording? what are the "illusions" that the title of the book refers to?

>>By mir   (Monday, 23 Jun 2003 06:50)

Wow - "mir" is a true reader! The narrator is pulled back into life by the transcription he's doing. This "handing down" of an old world text to the new world would seem to be a part of that bringing back from the dead you speak of. I think the "illusions" he speaks of are memories. There is no past -- it does not exist, save for written records (and films!) and we know those are fleeting and can be burned in a trash barrel. Have you read "Vertigo" by Sebald? Another writers obsessed with memory and writing and the disconnect involved. A genius book highly recommended.

>>By drop   (Monday, 30 Jun 2003 23:31)

thanks, although i'm really only a synthesizer of sorts. for a true reader, you're likely better off consulting with mr green up there.

i haven't read _vertigo_ -- something i should look into...

the idea of (insert word here; just about anything) is a construct appears quite frequently in texts we consider postmodern. the interesting bit is in the how and why, and what is the agenda/net result of the construction.

so, who is the intended audience of the memoirs that keep reappearing in auster's texts? whom are they supposed to "help" (if the idea is that they should help someone)?

looking forward to the release of _oracle night_ and _collected prose_...

>>By mir   (Tuesday, 1 Jul 2003 01:37)

Just finished Oracle. Fine book. Devoured it in one sitting. I get the sense Paul took a story that he initially developed but couldn't finish (the story about Bowen in the blue notebook) and salvaged it by writing a novel around it. He took a chance and succeeded. Very pleased by this one.

>>By mikey-t   (Sunday, 22 Feb 2004 14:02)

heyyyyyy, hungarian translation of The Book of Illusions is great! So be careful!
actually I am almost the biggest fan of Paul Auster in our country. Actually I made his homepage, visit it :

>>By blueintheface   (Thursday, 26 Feb 2004 14:30)

I just finished Oracle Night. Although I find it quite similar to its predecessor, with the same story line, same device of a book about a book about a book, I must say that once again, Paul Auster got me. It took me some time to get into the pace of the book. But he cleverly works his trick of schizophrenic story telling. I no longer could make the difference between the different stories, between my life and the book...
I became as confused, as lost as his character was, and almost believed that I was thinking what the narrator was thinking...

Not his best book, but certainly still a great one.

>>By aaken   (Saturday, 10 Apr 2004 12:26)

I read Book of Illusions last Christmas and thought it was one of the best things I'd read in a long, long time - moody, moving, meaty, satisfying and elegantly written. Trouble is, I haven't really read anything to top it since!! Wondering if anyone has any recommendations, Auster or anyone else, bearing in mind that so many people have commented that illusions is auster's best work to date... I don't want to read something else by him and be disappointed!

I read a lot, and very quickly, so am constantly looking for new "meaty" reads to keep me happy!!

Books I've read that I really loved: I know this much is true - Wally lamb, wind-up bird chronicles - murakami, what I loved - siri hustvedt, everything you need by AL kennedy, fugitive pieces - anne michaels, a fine balance - rohinton mistry...

I would wholeheartedly recommend all of the above as seriously fantastic reads. I would be fascinated to hear about anyone's recommendations!!
Happy reading!

>>By kookiegoddess   (Thursday, 26 Aug 2004 11:45)

Just wondering if there are any visitors to this site that have read any of Auster's poetry . . .I must say that of all the Auster I've read "Moon Palace" shines BRIGHTEST & WARMEST for me at present . . .but I'm only halfway through "Brooklyn Follies" so perhaps that might be competitive for "brightest & best" after I'm done. I really studied "MP" quite closely due to the fact that I was sharing the reading experience with a German friend [who I've since lost track of . . oh well . . .]. It does bear up well under rather close scrutiny . . . and I feel that the Imagery almost "breaks up" into Poetry from time to time . . . especially the final few sentences.
Enough for now . . . I'll write more depending on Your response(s).

>>By satorotas   (Thursday, 28 Dec 2006 21:48)

I've got a book of weird true stories of American life that's compiled by him. I should read one of his novels.

>>By Flagg   (Friday, 29 Dec 2006 12:41)

A Short Note for Flagg (and whoever else might be interested):
Once one reads "The New York Trilogy", I would imagine one would be able
to determine if one has a taste for what Auster is about . . . I would follow that
with "Music of Chance" and then perhaps "Moon Palace" . . . I have found his
last 3 or 4 novels not as arresting as his earlier ones . . .lacking in Stuctural
Formality . . . I definitely feel that "Moon Palace" is the MOST satisfying of
anything that I've read by Auster . . .most times I just get a very unsettled
kind of existential unbalance after reading an Auster work . . .but I did feel
that there was some kind of untypical ["unAustere"] CLOSURE on the final
page of MP.
So . . .some general remarks are herewith added to this rather
lively site.

>>By satorotas   (Wednesday, 3 Jan 2007 18:09)

I'll take your advice. I've heard he's a good author anyway, I expect I'd like his novels. Personally I love getting a feeling of 'existential unbalance' from books.

>>By Flagg   (Wednesday, 3 Jan 2007 19:19)

Yes . . . Good Enough . . .I wasn't intending to scare anybody off by mentioning "existential unbalance" . . . it's really quite refreshing to read someone who'se not at all an advocate of "pat/trivial/Walt Disneyish" endings . . .I wonder how much "existentialist" is a useful description of any author anymore . . .I'm sure the term was practically worked to deatch in 60's . . .we're just looking for a "straightshooter" here . . .somebody that will call a "spade a spade" . . .
Life is Mystery Over Mystery Under Mystery and all Interlaced with Mysteries . . .anybody that claims to solve any one of them is seriously deluded, on excellent drugs . . .etc.

>>By satorotas   (Wednesday, 3 Jan 2007 20:07)

Here's a short poem by Auster . . .I'd love to hear/read whatever comments it might elicit from the group here:

Looking Glass

Laid bare
by your rabid, obsidian eye,
by the white
ire and barking
of the mirror-dog who stared you
into blindness:

Spinoza's god,
cast from the borders of speech, geometric,
journeying through the curve
of exile,
hazards another world.

[I consider myself a Spinozist . . . at least
I feel a strong attraction towards his
philosophy (as much as I comprehend it
thus far . . . I'm trying to to claim too much
here) . . .and then there's that curious [dog/god]
inversion . . .which I believe James Joyce [ the secret
Spinozist? or should that be Spinoza-via-Hegel??]
also works/plays in U's "Proteus" section as I read
it . . .etc etc etc]

See this as Challenge ---
Yours --- Curioser
& Curioser ---

>>By satorotas   (Monday, 8 Jan 2007 19:26)

can't wait for his new book which is coming out in August, I suppose... I've been trough all his novels... amazing, compelling... the best living writer...

>>By leshko   (Wednesday, 23 Jul 2008 23:52)

He is becoming rubbish along with Haruki Murakami.

>>By hustvedt   (Wednesday, 12 Nov 2008 22:03)

Are there any authors who aren't becoming rubbish?

>>By Flagg   (Thursday, 13 Nov 2008 12:55)

Flagg you are everywhere. You must read the same books as me. Actually Paul and Siri are good friends of mine but he is indeed losing his touch. Ma Jian is becoming better and better, Philip Roth is always good, Roberto Bolano was becoming the best but he sadly he died.

>>By hustvedt   (Friday, 14 Nov 2008 16:47)

the book of illusions was indeed such a classic book. I almost cried and I was so angry by the end of it.

>>By hustvedt   (Friday, 14 Nov 2008 16:48)

I am reading Invisible and I am much impressed by his style.I am not sure of the substance.I invite a review of this book by those who have read and injested the book.

>>By Subrata   (Friday, 8 Jan 2010 05:31)

The discussion board is currently closed.