The Book of Illusions

by Paul Auster | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0312990960 Global Overview for this book
Registered by LemmiSchmoeker of Neukölln, Berlin Germany on 10/29/2006
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19 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by LemmiSchmoeker from Neukölln, Berlin Germany on Sunday, October 29, 2006
As every book by Auster, this is a strange one. I can safely say I have never read anything like it before (even the other Auster books), and I'm not sure if I can even classify it.

It is a story of repentance and absolution on several levels, and I'm afraid that's about the only thing I can tell. I know that I liked it and that bits of it came back to me for several weeks after finishing it. Other than that, though, I'm utterly empty: I have no idea what it is that fascinates about it, or even why it fascinates. Because of that, I recommend it to everyone.

Coincidentally, I bought it to read on a long flight, but it soon became apparent that this is not a book you can easily read on a plane. You'll know why when you start it.

I've been wondering if I should register it here or just keep it for a while, and today I've made up my mind. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome this copy to our fine community!

Journal Entry 2 by LemmiSchmoeker from Neukölln, Berlin Germany on Tuesday, November 07, 2006
It's now on its way to samulli as part of a trade. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by samulli from Weimar, Thüringen Germany on Thursday, November 09, 2006
Received today as a surprise addition to a trade. Thank you very much, LemmiSchmoeker! I will read it as soon as I find the time (Auster's books always take a little longer than usual to read).

Journal Entry 4 by samulli from Weimar, Thüringen Germany on Monday, July 02, 2007
Well, this weekend I finally decided to give it a try. Judging from my experience with other Auster books I had expected to drag this one around with me for ages and not to be able to read more than a few pages in one sitting. It's strange, Auster is one of those authors I know I should like, but instead always struggle with, but am too stubborn to give up on completely. Know what I mean?
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Instead of putting it down again and again I kept on reading and finished it in 2 long sittings (and no, I don't really have a life at the moment). This was the first book by Auster that really managed to grab and to hold my attention the whole time. Funnily now I feel ready to finally give up on him, isn't that crazy?

I can't say much about the story itself, so instead I just give you the back blurb:
"One man's obsession with the mysterious life of a silent film star takes him on a journey into a shadow-world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love. After losing his wife and young sons in a plane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in grief. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a lost film by silent comedian Hector Mann, and remembers how to laugh . . .
Mann was a comic genius, in trademark white suit and fluttering black moustache. But one morning in 1929 he walked out of his house and was never heard from again. Zimmer's obsession with Mann drives him to publish a study of his work; whereupon he receives a letter postmarked New Mexico, supposedly written by Mann's wife, and inviting him to visit the great Mann himself. Can Hector Mann be alive? Zimmer cannot decide - until a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever. "


I'm not quite sure what I'll do with the book next. I know I won't read it again myself, but I'll defintely try to find more readers for it one way or the other.

Journal Entry 5 by samulli from Weimar, Thüringen Germany on Thursday, July 12, 2007
This is gonna be an international bookray.

Participants so far:

boirina (Portugal -> EU)
Fifna (NL -> EU)
onniManni (Finland)
Scoobs-buddy (US -> US)
Wistroll (US)
oliviapoolside (US)
kaos61 (CDN)
Mozette (Australia)
cat207 (Australia)

edit 13.04.08:
The ray is finished and cat027 can do with the book as she pleases. :-)
Thanks everybody for making this one a success!

Journal Entry 6 by samulli from Weimar, Thüringen Germany on Monday, July 16, 2007
The book is on the way to boirina now.

Journal Entry 7 by boirina from Calvià, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Wednesday, August 01, 2007
The book got here safely today.

I'll see when I can sit and read it...

Thanks for the bookray, samulli!

Journal Entry 8 by boirina from Calvià, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Saturday, September 01, 2007
I've finished the book tonight and I must say I really, really enjoyed it. But I usually enjoy Paul Auster's books, so that's no big news. :)

But... I must say that the book has been slightly damaged. :(

You see, my husband found an abandoned puppy on Monday and he took it home. The other night I fell asleep while I was sitting in my reading armchair. I can't remember where the book was, it might have been on my lap or on the little table I have beside me. The thing is... when I woke up the book was on the floor with another book. They had both been bitten. The books weren't badly damaged but I had to do some restoration work on both of them. My Stephen King hardback had been nibbled on on one corner and this one had been bitten on the back cover and a little bit of the cover had been ripped off. So... you'll see tiny tooth marks on the back cover, which has now a black cardboard attached on the inside which folds on the code bar bit to cover what was ripped off. And I put some plastic adhesive all over the book. I preferred that to covering the whole back cover. I am really sorry. I can't say if the books fell off or if the little thing managed to climb to reach them, but I have the feeling she climbed... Sorry for that. :(

The book will leave for Fifna next week when I go to the post office. I'll post again when I've sent it.

Journal Entry 9 by wingFifnawing from Voorburg, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Tuesday, September 11, 2007
The book has arrived safely, thanks boirina. And you did a great job repairing the cover!

Journal Entry 10 by wingFifnawing from Voorburg, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Really enjoyed this! This was my second Paul Auster book and I suspect it won't be the last one I read. Thanks for sharing, samulli! I have PMed onniManni for an address, so should have the book moving on again pretty soon.

edit: Thanks to a speedy reply from onniManni, the book went in the post the same day!

Journal Entry 11 by myrtillus from Pori, Satakunta Finland on Monday, October 29, 2007
The book was in my mailbox today. Thanks Fifna! I'll read it asap.

Journal Entry 12 by myrtillus from Pori, Satakunta Finland on Wednesday, November 14, 2007
” While illusions distort reality, they are generally shared by most people.” (From Wikipedia)

This is my first Auster book. I enjoyed the novel a lot. Auster is a very good storyteller. He believes in coincidences. The tragic stories about David and Hector are the main stories, but within them there are other stories and within these stories other stories etc. The whole novel is like a Russian puppet.

It is clearly a story by a booklover to other booklovers. There are so many books in the story also.

Goes next to Scoobs-buddy.

Journal Entry 13 by rem_XDP-320934 on Thursday, November 29, 2007
So glad this is here and looking forward to reading!

Journal Entry 14 by rem_XDP-320934 on Monday, December 17, 2007
It took me a little longer to read this than I usually take for a book this size- I found that I could only read a few pages at a time and then had to stop to absorb what I had read before reading more. It's different in a good way! It was the first book I've read by Auster and I'd definitely like to read more of his work.

Released 11 yrs ago (12/17/2007 UTC) at Controlled release in controlled release, a controlled release -- Controlled Releases

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off to Wistroll- enjoy!


usps del conf # 0306 3030 0002 5605 6953

Journal Entry 16 by Wistroll from Centuria, Wisconsin USA on Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Arrived safely Dec.22nd, just getting online now due to the holidays. I hope to have it done soon and on its way just after the New year!
Thanks for including me!!

Journal Entry 17 by Wistroll from Centuria, Wisconsin USA on Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I really enjoyed this book! This is the second Auster book I have read, I also have Travels in the Scriptorium by him on my TBR list. This will not be the last I read, I will will search this author out!

He drew me into the story from the very beginning, I really enjoyed the way he displayed a different perspective of depth throughout. Very enjoyable first book of the year for me.

Thank you so much for including me in this bookray!!

On its way early next week to oliviapoolside!

Journal Entry 18 by Wistroll at -- By Hand or Post, Ray/ring, Rabck in Milltown, Wisconsin USA on Friday, January 25, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (1/24/2008 UTC) at -- By Hand or Post, Ray/ring, Rabck in Milltown, Wisconsin USA

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On its way to oliviapoolside.

Journal Entry 19 by wingBooksandMusicwing from Seattle, Washington USA on Sunday, January 27, 2008
Received today just as I finished my last book. So I'll be reading this one now with no delay and passing it on.

Journal Entry 20 by wingBooksandMusicwing from Seattle, Washington USA on Monday, January 28, 2008
I really liked the first 3rd of this book. As we started to learn more about Hector Mann I found myself both repelled and losing interest. There is also too much philosophy in this book for my taste. In the end it just seemed like a mystery/thriller written by someone with a bent for philosophy. I'll send it on to Kaos61 tomorrow.

Released 11 yrs ago (1/30/2008 UTC) at -- By post or by hand-ie ring, trade, RABCK, meet in Seattle, Washington USA

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I've sent it on to Kaos61.

Journal Entry 22 by kaos61 from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Friday, February 15, 2008
Recieved the book in my mail today.

Journal Entry 23 by kaos61 from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada on Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Sent on it's way yesterday.This was a average book.

Journal Entry 24 by wingMozettewing from Logan City, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, March 11, 2008
This book arrived in my PO Box today. I'll get my nose into tonight. I can't wait to read it.

Journal Entry 25 by wingMozettewing from Logan City, Queensland Australia on Thursday, March 13, 2008
Oh my gawd! It's the lowest score I've ever given a book... and one of the only books I think I've given up on the quickest. After 30 pages or so, I wondered when Paul Auster was going to start taking me on the journey and stop talking about the films. I'm sorry, but this guy really didn't do it for me.

Journal Entry 26 by wingMozettewing from Logan City, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I'm afraid to say that I couldn't get my mind into that book very easily. I like books that grab me quickly and I gotta hang on for dear life. However, this one went far too slow for my liking. So, I'll send it onto the next person post haste.

Journal Entry 27 by cat207 from Gladstone, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Arrived in today's mail. Thank you Mozette, and samulli for sharing.

I see I'm last on the list. Do you have further plans for the book? Do I need to hurry with it?

Journal Entry 28 by cat207 from Gladstone, Queensland Australia on Monday, April 14, 2008
I don't know that it was good to read three days before a plane trip either, LemmiSchmoeker, but it's done now. Ce que sera, sera.

Another thought-provoking read from Mr Auster.

Journal Entry 29 by cat207 from Gladstone, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Promised to penelopewanders to replace a stalled ring / ray.


livrecache (Australia)
taniazed (Australia)
outofreach (Australia)
tqd (Australia) can ship international
Carole888 (Australia) can ship international
lara-aine (Ireland) EU only
ekranda (UK) can ship international
ChiBoiler (USA)can ship international
skyriter (USA)

Journal Entry 30 by cat207 from Gladstone, Queensland Australia on Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I did PM for taniazed's address but I want to get this in the mail before I head off on my travels, so I'm sending this to livrecache first as I already have her address.

Journal Entry 31 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Friday, April 18, 2008
Arrived safely today, thanks cat. (And I hope you have a wonderful trip!)

I do so love joining in an international ring -- not quite as good as travelling oneself, of course, but there's a vicarious feel to it.

I've a few rings ahead of this one, but I shall try to keep the book moving swiftly.

Journal Entry 32 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Saturday, June 28, 2008
Goodness, and sorry all, I've been sitting on this book much too long. I started it last night and I am totally intrigued. It's my first Paul Auster. I'll read some more tonight as I'm a football widow, so this book should be travelling again soon. I'll PM the next person now -- I've not heard from her in a while . . .

Journal Entry 33 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Thursday, July 10, 2008
I'm afraid I didn't finish this book nearly as quickly as I'd hoped. Family issues got in the way.

Now that I have, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to say about it. I think it was very, very clever. I found myself pausing along the way and wondering whether I was missing stuff. I did feel there was a sort of hole before Auster thought of introducing Alma, which seemed a bit contrived to me. But in a way the whole book was contrived, but at the same time very intriguing.

I've pm'd the next person.

Journal Entry 34 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Wednesday, July 16, 2008
I've had no response from the next person on the list. She has been having hassles, so I'll try the next person.

Journal Entry 35 by livrecache at Fitzroy, Victoria Australia on Monday, July 21, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (7/21/2008 UTC) at Fitzroy, Victoria Australia

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Off to the next participant in this bookring.

Journal Entry 36 by outofreach from Melbourne CBD, Victoria Australia on Wednesday, July 23, 2008
arrived yesterday...
the first two pages sound promising - it hopefully won't take me too long to read...
thank you for posting it to me...

update: sorry but i just realised that i totally forgot to post how i found the book. as all the other paul auster books i have read so far, i enjoyed this one thoroughly. i found the love story a little cheesy but i guess, it drove the narrative. overall a good read.
sory tqd that it took me so long to post the book to you..

Journal Entry 37 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Friday, September 05, 2008
Thanks outofreach! I forgot this one was coming, so it was a very pleasant surprise in the mail today! I've got a few books ahead of this one (*gulp*) but will get to it asap.

Journal Entry 38 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I really must try and write my reviews sooner than I do! I finished this book last week, and it's all fallen out of my brain since then.

I find a lot of Paul Auster's writing style almost clunky in its banality at times ("I bought a Coke and a bag of popcorn, found a seat in the middle of the last row and sat through one of the Back to the Future movies"), but at other times am incredibly moved ("...but as I put together their puzzles and played with their Lego pieces, building ever more complex and baroque structures, I felt that I was temporarily inhabiting them again - carrying on their little phantom lives for them by repeating the gestures they had made when they still had bodies"). And what is it with the infinitesimally detailed retelling of the stories within the book?

I found the beginning of the book, with Professor Zimmer's deep grief at losing his wife and small children very difficult to read (if I never step on a plane again, it will be a Good Thing). But before one could wallow in the depths of despair for too long, there is a mystery and a puzzle to be solved; and I did find the story of Hector Mann completely fascinating.

Some day I shall have read enough Paul Auster and it shall all make sense. I'm quite convinced that, just like the interlinked stories within the books, that all his books must fit together into a coherent whole and if I could just solve that puzzle...! In the meantime, I'm glad there are still a number of his books for me to read (and maybe that conundrum will be solved, one day).

But then again, maybe it's all one great big joke on me (I'm never quite sure when he's being serious as a writer and when he's taking the piss; this was one of the more serious books of his, I felt... but then again, maybe this one was all written with a smirk - he's so deadpan, I can never tell!).

I have carole888's address already, so shall pop this in the mail to her tomorrow. Thanks cat207 for organising this ray, and thanks LemmiSchmoeker for registering the book in the first place!

Journal Entry 39 by tqd at Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, October 16, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (10/16/2008 UTC) at Sydney, New South Wales Australia

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Popped in the post to carole888 on my way home today.

Happy reading!

Journal Entry 40 by Carole888 from Perth City, Western Australia Australia on Friday, October 24, 2008
It has arrived! Thank you so much for sending it this way. I have another book that arrived just before this one so will have to hang on to this for a little while.

Journal Entry 41 by Carole888 from Perth City, Western Australia Australia on Saturday, November 15, 2008
This has been an interesting read for me. Parts of it were draining... and quite frustrating .... but I guess it had to be in order for the plot to be as realistic as it was. It is well written and the whole story line was fascinating. Thank you for sharing this. I have lara-aine's address and will be sending it off soon.

Journal Entry 42 by Carole888 at to a fellow bookcrosser, a postal release -- Controlled Releases on Monday, November 17, 2008

Released 11 yrs ago (11/16/2008 UTC) at to a fellow bookcrosser, a postal release -- Controlled Releases

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The book is now on its way! Thanks once again for sharing and I hope the next reader enjoys it as much as I did.

Journal Entry 43 by lara-aine from Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Wednesday, December 03, 2008
It arrived safely on the other side of the world! Thanks carole888. I'll be reading it as soon as I finish the last few pages of my current book. I've enjoyed some other Paul Auster books so I'm really looking forward to this one.

Journal Entry 44 by lara-aine at Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Released 10 yrs ago (12/19/2008 UTC) at Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland

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Posted to ekranda, who's next on the list.
I absolutely loved this book and plan on reviewing it properly as soon as i have time.
Thanks once again to Carole888 for sending it to be.
Hope you all have a happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year!

Journal Entry 45 by Paws4Books from Deal, Kent United Kingdom on Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Arrived in the post with 2 other bookrays...will get to this as soon as i can thanks for sharing!

* update 12 March, Just wanted to let you know that i am reading this at the moment. My life has become so busy lately with uni work and health problems that i can't sit down and read lots of chapters in one go. I'm about 1/2 way so far and really hope to be sending it on its way soon!

Journal Entry 46 by Paws4Books from Deal, Kent United Kingdom on Friday, March 27, 2009

I have finally finished it! I really enjoyed this book, really liked Paul Auster's writing style and found it rather different to the previous Auster book I have read which was Timbuktu. I found it very dark in places but mostly very enjoyable. It had a great deal to say about how we respond to grief, as each of us has our own approach to deal with these events. It shows us just how fragile we can be, but at the same time just how strong we can be too! There were so many parallels within the story, and stories emerging from stories too that it did boarder upon being a bit too complex but somehow I believe Paul Auster pulled it off…even if it was just by the skin of his teeth!

I have contacted ChiBoiler and hope to get the book moving again very soon!!

Thank you very much for sharing this book, my apologies for taking so long with it.

Journal Entry 47 by Paws4Books at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (4/8/2009 UTC) at by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases

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On its way to the USA. Hope you enjoy!!!

Journal Entry 48 by ChiBoiler from Chicago, Illinois USA on Sunday, April 12, 2009
This book arrived in the mail yesterday. I have two in front of it, but I read fast!!

Journal Entry 49 by ChiBoiler from Chicago, Illinois USA on Friday, April 24, 2009
As I was reading this book I kept thinking that I should not be enjoying it - all of the summaries of the silent films should have bored me to tears! However, I enjoyed every moment, surprising myself!

I have read Timbuktu, but I liked this book better. I was engrossed in the entire story from David to Hector Mann. While I found David unlikable at times, I loved his journey throughout the pages.

The end disappointed me at first, but the last page left me smiling!!!

Thank you all for keeping this book moving! I am so glad I had a chance to read it. It is amazing - a 1001 book that I liked!

I will pm the next person to get this book back on its journey.

Journal Entry 50 by ChiBoiler at Chicago, Illinois USA on Monday, May 04, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (5/4/2009 UTC) at Chicago, Illinois USA

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Mailed this book out at lunch - happy reading!

Journal Entry 51 by Skyriter from Columbiaville, New York USA on Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Just got the book....looking forward to reading. End of ring. A long journey and apparently fruitful journey. Thanks!

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