The Book of Illusions
19 journalers for this copy...
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!
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.
Participants so far:
boirina (Portugal -> EU)
Fifna (NL -> EU)
Scoobs-buddy (US -> US)
The ray is finished and cat027 can do with the book as she pleases. :-)
Thanks everybody for making this one a success!
I'll see when I can sit and read it...
Thanks for the bookray, samulli!
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.
edit: Thanks to a speedy reply from onniManni, the book went in the post the same day!
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.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
off to Wistroll- enjoy!
usps del conf # 0306 3030 0002 5605 6953
Thanks for including me!!
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!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
On its way to oliviapoolside.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
I've sent it on to Kaos61.
I see I'm last on the list. Do you have further plans for the book? Do I need to hurry with it?
Another thought-provoking read from Mr Auster.
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
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.
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.
Off to the next participant in this bookring.
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..
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!
Popped in the post to carole888 on my way home today.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
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.
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!
* 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!
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.
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On its way to the USA. Hope you enjoy!!!
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.
Mailed this book out at lunch - happy reading!