The Book of Illusions is a novel by American writer Paul Auster, published in It was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in . The Book of Illusions book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Six months after losing his wife and two young sons, Vermo. Paul Auster creates a world where reality is elusive but meaning is everywhere in The Book of Illusions.
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Anthony Quinn is unconvinced by Paul Auster's conjuring tricks in The Book of Illusions. The Book of Illusions. by Paul Auster (Holt; $24). Auster, a master of narrative sleight-of-hand and cerebral formalism, has now turned to the. Complete summary of Paul Auster's The Book of Illusions. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Book of Illusions.
Then, one day, he sees by chance a clip of a silent movie and is captivated by the image of a long-forgotten actor, beautiful Hector Manning, with his thin black moustache, his white suit and expressive eyes. For a brief moment, Zimmer feels himself released from acute pain, focusing on something outside himself and, for the next three months, he uses the figure of Manning as a thread with which he can find his way out of his own despair.
by Paul Auster (Holt; $24)
He travels round America and then to London and Paris, seeing all of Manning's films, the only person, he reckons, ever to have done so. He spends his days alone in archives and tiny viewing theatres, staring at the screen, meditating on the allure of silent movies, making meanings out of Manning's graceful wordlessness. He writes a book about Manning's films and, in doing so, finds a small amount about the actor's life: how, just as his career was taking off, he disappeared, never to be seen again.
Of course, Zimmer knows the actor is dead and forever an enigma. You can't erase yourself for 80 years and then come back to life again. By a series of melodramatic turns, which include his highly charged suicide attempt and his miraculous resurrection through a love affair with Manning's confidante and daughter-figure, Zimmer finds himself in New Mexico.
The dead actor is not dead after all; the silent star has been a reclusive movie director all these years, making films in the desert that no one will ever see a different kind of silent movie ; and there is, of course, a complex tale to be told about his baroque afterlife. Auster is not a realist.
The Book of Illusions
As the title of his latest novel insists, he inhabits a world of illusion. His novels are worldly, finely tuned, elegant, knowingly self-referential. In The Book of Illusions, the story we are reading is being written by the narrator: shape and intellect are locked on to a seething gothic tale of crime and guilt, full of stock figures the pornographer, the prostitute, the sinner, the murderer, the deceived wench and situations the house on fire, the hidden body, the secret book.
Everywhere, there are pairings and echoes. The lives of the two men reflect one another other in their disintegration and reparations.
They have both died and come back to life again; they are both full of guilt and the need to do penance; they seek salvation through art. They are dead men talking. Hector Manning, in his underworld pilgrimage after his disappearance, has had to travel through stages of penance, which are then repeated by Zimmer.
It is the kind of dexterity that has been delighting Auster's readership since his acclaimed debut The New York Trilogy, and this oddly enfolded book is one of its most accomplished demonstrations.
It is a story about a "dead" man who comes to life, and a living man who wishes he were dead. David Zimmer, a literature professor in Vermont, has been traumatised by the loss of his wife and two children in a plane crash. Stewing in alcohol and daydreaming of suicide, he has let his life run away from him until one night, watching TV, he happens upon a clip of a forgotten comedian of the silent era named Hector Mann.
The cleverness of his slapstick makes Zimmer laugh and in doing so reminds him that he hasn't hit rock bottom; he proceeds to trawl the archives for the 12 two-reel comedies Mann made in the late s before he walked out of his house one morning in January and vanished from sight.
Zimmer becomes absorbed in the screen persona of Hector Mann, resplendent in his trademark white suit and expressively twirly moustache, a nimble prankster who dazzles "with his backpedals and dodges, his sudden torques and lunging pavanes, his double-takes and hop-steps and rhumba swivels". He writes a book about Hector's work, and some months after its publication receives a startling letter from New Mexico; it is apparently written by Hector's wife, Frieda, who says that Hector has read his book and would like to meet him.
Is this a hoax? Could Hector Mann, missing, presumed dead for over 50 years, still be alive? The film's themes not only prefigure its star's actual disappearance but chime with Zimmer's own feeling that he too is a nonentity, "a dead man".
BOOK REVIEW: 'The Book of Illusions' by Paul Auster
At this point the novel seems to have reached an impasse. Raymond Chandler famously wrote that, when in doubt, a writer should "have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand".
Auster tweaks the advice ever so slightly: he has a woman come through the door with a gun in her hand. It's not an entirely convincing appearance, in truth, but it does get the plot back on track.The protagonist spends a great deal of his inherited wealth making films that no one else is intended to see.
His wife and children have died in a plane crash; he has taken a leave from his teaching job and found himself unable to return. Recently, he has taken his own lesson to heart. He has recently lost loved ones and uses this silent film forgotten man as a way to deal with his depression. Please try again later.
I had recently just read which is his most recent and epic in scale. Today's Paper Subscribe. Can this be true? Will David reach Hector before he dies?
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