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The Book of Illusions

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  16,061 Ratings  ·  881 Reviews
Will be shipped from US. Brand new copy.
Hardcover, 321 pages
Published September 4th 2002 by Henry Holt & Company, Inc. (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30)
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Richard Derus
Jan 23, 2012 Richard Derus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: one furious, disgusted star of however many stars there are in a galaxy

I've never been fond of pompous writing, the kind that checks its look in the mirror of acclaim and piles on the self-satisfied smirking smugness that makes me want to torch all the MFA schools I can reach.

My review, which I've moved to my blog, says that and more. Apparently the hoi polloi slithering in from the Internet's more sanctimonious quarters don't agree with me, therefore I must be wrong.
Will Byrnes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erik
Dec 28, 2009 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Auster, you bastard!

The man writes such depressing stuff. As with the other Auster I've read (I know I've only read 2 Austers, I am such a failure at being pretentious), I finished this and I was like... what, why did I read this?

To explain myself I should say that I follow the Roger Ebert school of criticism. Roger Ebert cares more about how a movie makes him feel than on its technical merits. Granted, this is rather less valid in the medium of words on a page than the sound and fury of fi
...more
Jill
Feb 17, 2009 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By reading this book I have become a die-hard Auster fan. The man is amazing. So clever, so imaginitive, so poetic and almost profound. This book rambles, and in doing so touches on so many intertwined narratives that one almost gives up on what was assumed to be the original plot and assumes the opening catch phrase was just another Paul Auster smoke screen story line. But this one, even in creating such an intricatedly woven network of a character experiences, never looses sight of its ultimat ...more
Blair
David Zimmer is a teacher and writer whose wife and two young sons have been killed in an aeroplane crash. At his lowest ebb, suicidal and alcoholic, David sees a silent film on television and laughs for the first time since the tragedy. Thereafter, he develops a fascination with the actor featured in the old movie, Hector Mann - a minor star of silent comedies who vanished in 1929 and was never seen or heard of again. Travelling around the world in order to visit the film archives containing He ...more
Krenzel
Jun 16, 2008 Krenzel rated it liked it
Shelves: ala-notables, 1001
*WARNING FOR SPOILERS*

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound or not? This famous question is closely examined in "The Book of Illusions," by author Paul Auster, as he tells the story of literature professor David Zimmer, who copes with the death of his wife and two sons by shutting out the real world so that he can inhabit the "silent world of Hector Mann," an obscure actor from the 1920s. After leaving a dozen movies behind that nobody seems to know about, Hecto
...more
Alika Yarnell
Feb 14, 2008 Alika Yarnell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grief-striken wordsmiths and lovers of silent film trying to piece their lives back together
A surprising book that is riveting through to the final words. I say "surprising" because at first it's not clear as to what kind of book this is going to be. As with some of Auster's other work, the novel is told through a first-person narrator who happens to be a writer. We get long accounts of the book he is writing (about a silent filmmaker who went missing some years prior) and almost forget that there is a narrator involved, that we aren't reading a third-person account of this filmmaker's ...more
Doug
May 28, 2007 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who's stranded in an airport for 24 hours
I just recommended this book to someone stranded in the Minneapolis airport. I had forgotten how much I liked it until I saw it sitting there quietly on the shelf, minding it's own business.

This is why real books are so much more awesome than ebooks--they come back to tickle your mind. That, and when you spill wine on them (like I did on my copy of The Book of Illusions) they don't give up the ghost in an electric funeral.

Anyhow. Take that, Minneapolis.
Ingrid
Jan 30, 2017 Ingrid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primo romanzo che leggo di un autore, Paul Auster, di cui ho letto sempre bene, special modo per il suo romanzo più famoso, vale a dire "Trilogia di N.Y".
Psicologicamente sopravvissuto alla morte della famiglia in un disastro aereo, David Zimmer attraversa un normale periodo di depressione e sconforto assoluto interrotto, quasi magicamente (o, per l'appunto, in modo illusorio), dalla visione di un film muto alla televisione. In questa pellicola, che lo fa ridere fino alle lacrime, c'è un attore
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Book of Illusions, Paul Auster
عنوان: کتاب اوهام ؛ نویسنده: پل آستر (اوستر)؛ مترجم: امیر احمدی آریان؛ تهران، مروارید، چاپ دوم 1386؛ در 340 ص؛ شابک: 9789648838268؛ چاپ چهارم 1391؛ چاپ پنجم 1395؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی قرن 20 م
دیوید زیمر استاد دانشگاه است و نویسنده؛ همسر و فرزندانش در سقوط هواپیما کشته شده اند؛ و او دچار افسردگی ست. فیلم کمدی صامتی اثر هکتور مان باعث خنده ی او میشود برای نقد فیلم کتابی مینویسد؛ ...؛
The Reading Bibliophile
I read this more than ten years ago, so I cannot write a detailed review. But I can still remember the feeling of eagerly reading this book. And that's a good memory.
Schuyler
Oh Mr. Auster, what are we to do with you? This might have been the last book I end up reading by Paul Auster. It's been a nice ride, but I think he's run his course in my literary life. He's not doing anything great with language, though that's not really his "thing" anyway...he's more about playing with narrative and building pseudo-complex plots whose ideas aren't fully realized.

There was a lot in this novel that I found almost laughably cliche, but the bath tub sex scene towards the end sta
...more
Benay
Oct 02, 2016 Benay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okuduğum ikinci Paul Auster kitabıydı.
Yine adım adım beni avuçlarına aldı.
Okudukça sevdim, sevdikçe okudum.
David Zimmer'in, kendisi gibi ölüm ve yaşam arasında bir yerlerde var olmaya çalışan bir komedi oyuncusunun hayatını inceleyerek başladığı hayata geri dönüş yolculuğunu seveceksiniz. Çünkü hepimiz bazen kayboluruz, bizi mahveden olaylar yaşar ve yolumuzu bulamayacağımızı sanırız. Ama hayat yaşamak için var ve görmeyi istersek bir sürü çıkış yolu gözlerimizin önünde.
George Georgiadis
Jun 26, 2015 George Georgiadis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hamburger
Μου θύμισε εκείνη τη φράση που ειπώθηκε δια στόματος Μάθιου Μακόναχι στην πρώτη σεζόν του True Detective: "To realize that all your life, all your love, all your hate, all your memories, all your pain, it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person". Μεγάλος Auster και πάλι.
Michael
May 14, 2008 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paul Auster
Recommended to Michael by: The library dollar bin
Paul Auster needs to stop. Now. In the beginning (starting with The New York Trilogy) his work was an interesting theoretical experiment. As of late he's become a caricature of himself. I'm tempted to accuse him of plagiarizing the Paul Auster of 20 years ago. The transcription of that court case would be like a general survey of his career and what he still insists on doing in his literature. The prosecution (Paul Auster) would convince the jury that the defense (Paul Austen, probably under a p ...more
Cat
Dec 10, 2016 Cat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Como sempre, demorar um mês ou mais (como foi o caso) a ler um livro é mau sinal. Especialmente se for um livro com menos de trezentas páginas.

Esta minha primeira vez com Paul Auster não correu muito bem. Custou-me um bocado entrar na história, já que eu não estava nada à espera de começar com uma monografia sobre o cinema mudo do início do século vinte, e, quando a história supostamente a ficar interessante, eu já tinha desmotivado.

Claro que se eu tivesse conseguido gostar da história, ou das p
...more
Hans Castorp
No es la primera vez que tengo esta sensación con Auster: la obra empieza bien, crea sensación de intriga, te mantiene a lo largo de trescientas páginas y justo en las últimas veinte o treinta, pum... todo se viene abajo. Es como si Paul Auster no sepa como terminar la obra, como si no supiera hacerla redonda y la terminara con golpes repentinos (suicidio, muertes histriónicas; coletazos de un pintor cansado de estar ante el mismo cuadro día tras día). En otras obras tiene su pase, en este caso ...more
Mikheil
Sep 05, 2016 Mikheil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ვიტყოდი, რომ ოსტერის საუკეთესო ტესტია, რაც მე წამიკიტხავს-მეთქი, მაგრამ "შუშის ქალაქი" და "ოგი რენის საშობაო ამბავივით" მაინც ვერ შემაყვარა თავი.
ისე კი ძალიან კარგი წიგნია.
უბრალოდ ამ კაცს რასაც დავაკვირდი, ზოგჯერ ძაან წიკებში გადასდის ამბებში კიდევ ახალი ამბების მოგონება, რაც ყოველთვის სასიამოვნო ნამდვილად არ ვერ არის ხოლმე. ამის გამო -1 ვარსკვლავი.
თუმცა ფრიად ბომბი ავტორი რომაა, წყალი არ გაუვა ამას! <3
Nona Buzhgulashvili
უკომენტაროდ , უმაგრესია❤

"არსებობს ფიქრები,რომლებსაც შეუძლიათ შეშალონ ადამიანი,მახინჯი ძალმოსილების აზრები,გაფიქრებისთანავე რომ გხრწნიან.მეც მეშინოდა იმის,რაც ვიცოდი,მეშინოდა რომ ამ ცოდნის გამო საშინელების განცდას ვერ მოვიშორებდი,ამიტომ იმ ფიქრების სიტყვებად გარდათქმა არ მინდოდა და თავს მანამდე ვარიდებდი,სანამ სიტყვებმა ჩემზე ძალაუფლება არ დაკარგეს."
Bev
Aug 20, 2012 Bev rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, kindle
Professor David Zimmer's life is destroyed when his wife and two young sons are killed in a plane crash. He goes on a destructive binge of drinking and taking pills until he happens to see a documentary in which he is drawn to silent film comedian Hector Mann, who vanished around 1929 after a brief but promising film career. Zimmer begins to investigate the work of Hector Mann, an interest which becomes an obsession which takes him on a quest to see the 12 films which were mailed, anonymously, t ...more
Cassie
Mar 08, 2010 Cassie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book! This is a story within a story within a story. It's no wonder why it's called "The Book of Illusions." What I like most out of it is that you can choose what is real and what is fantasy. Even if all the stories told within these pages are real (fictional real, I mean), it is still takes you on an amazing metaphysical journey. It is about a supposed "missing" silent film star, Hector Mann, who is presumed dead after so many years after his disappearance. We learn about him thro ...more
Sheila shokouhifar
جدا از هر نقد و برداشت ادبى ،بايد حرفى را بزنم كه اين كتاب را برايم نماد آن كرده؛ كتاب اوهام تنها يك كتاب نيست كه شما از قفسه بر ميداريد روى كاناپه دراز ميكشيد و ميخوانيد ... نه . كتاب اوهام كتابيست كه انگار تمام كتابهاى قفسه را يك به يك برداشته ايد روزها و ماه و سالها وقت صرف كرده ايد ،روى كاناپه و موكت و تخت و پشت ميز نشسته ايد ،دانه دانه كتاب ها را زندگى كرده ايد.
كتاب اوهام همان فيلمى ست كه با تمام وجود ،پلان به پلان ديده ايد و حتى قسمتى كوچك از كادر هم از ديدتان در نرفته... اصلا تا بحال اينگ
...more
Carl
Dec 07, 2007 Carl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few of my favorite things: smart men, secret lives, cinema, facial scars, multi-layered mystery, artistic masterpieces unveiled, itchy sexual tension...I can't love this book any more. One of my favorite books ever.
Fiona
A strong 4.5, highly recommended, and an excellent borrow from my housemate. Clearly I should nick her stuff more often.
Meera
May 13, 2013 Meera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a bit torn about this book, which may be the last Auster I read after a year-long affair. It suffers from many flaws:

It generally reads, as someone writes below, like a self-parody. (You can't fault Paul Auster for trying to explore too many themes, too many kinds of characters, too many stages of life.)

It drags a lot in the middle. (Ross and I were taking turns reading this aloud to each other from his Nook and we just stopped at some point months ago. I finally picked it up on my own to
...more
Betül
Nov 08, 2013 Betül rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost everything is perfect about Auster. He portrays perfectly the lives of people who had frustrating losses but trying to cling to life; who made big mistakes but trying to compensate them with functional and right acts and who lost their ways somehow but trying to make their existence meaningful again and do their best to the end. Accordingly his fiction always gives me inspiration. Whenever i read his books, i think about my life and my motivations, that's why i like reading him, he always ...more
Daniel Polansky
This sucked. Sucked sucked sucked sucked sucked. Utterly mediocre. Shoddily written, never pretty and often not even competent (a rough third of the book consists of the narrator describing movies which don't exist). The characters are paper thin, their motivations largely nonsensical. Its got Auster's usual obsessions about identity, and writing as a form of creation, and blah blah blah, but it doesn't lead into anything meaningful. This was my third Auster book, as mentioned, and I feel confid ...more
Alin G.
Mar 14, 2011 Alin G. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, usa
[Review in Romanian]
Paul Auster îşi bazează Cartea Iluziilor pe o întrebare filozofică: dacă un om trăieşte o viaţă plină de însemnătate, însă pe care nimeni nu o cunoaşte, atunci am putea atesta asupra faptului ca acesta a trăit cu adevărat? Este o poveste mai apropiată de adevăr atunci când este văzută şi povestită ori se transformă într-o iluzie a percepţiei ascultătorului?

Punctul de vedere al personajului narator al Cărţii Iluziilor este însă unul pragmatic: “If I never saw the moon, then th
...more
Mónica Mar
Jul 03, 2015 Mónica Mar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Zimmer es un hombre sin familia. Su esposa y sus dos hijos murieron en un accidente de avión, y sus muertes han sumergido a David en un maremágnum de alcohol y desesperanza. Aislado en la cáscara de su hogar y rodeado de fantasmas, a David se le ha escapado el sentido de la vida. Pasa sus noches echado en un sofá frente al televisor, y es una de estas noches que, a través de un sopor etílico de rutina, ve la escena de una película muda de los años veinte. Del pecho de David sale el rumor d ...more
Isabel Maia
Nov 14, 2011 Isabel Maia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mine, original
“Todos acreditavam que estava morto.”. Até David Zimmer, o personagem principal deste livro, achava que Hector Mann estava morto. Zimmer é um professor de Literatura Comparada numa Univerdade no Vermont, EUA. Com a morte da família num trágico acidente, o professor entra numa espiral de dor e depressão que este expia através da escrita de um livro sobre Hector Mann, um actor de segunda linha de filmes cómicos mudos. Terminado esse projecto, embrenha-se noutro numa tentativa de não pensar no pass ...more
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Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Report from the Interior, Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, the Prix Médicis Étranger, the Independent Spirit Award, and the Premio Napoli. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Ac ...more
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“We all want to believe in impossible things, I suppose, to persuade ourselves that miracles can happen.” 113 likes
“I was perfectly calm and perfectly insane, perfectly prepared to accept what the moment had offered. Indifference of that magnitude is rare and because it can be achieved only by someone ready to let go of who he is, it demands respect. It inspires awe in those who gaze upon it.” 25 likes
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