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Travels in the Scriptorium

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  5,986 ratings  ·  566 reviews
An old man awakens, disoriented, in an unfamiliar chamber. With no memory of who he is or how he has arrived there, he pores over the relics on the desk, examining the circumstances of his confinement and searching his own hazy mind for clues.

Determining that he is locked in, the man—identified only as Mr. Blank—begins reading a manuscript he finds on the desk, the story
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Audio CD, 0 pages
Published February 20th 2007 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katie
May 22, 2007 Katie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who have read and enjoyed other Auster books
First things first: I am an Auster fan. I’m not sure I’d have been able to enjoy this book were I unfamiliar with his work. Yes, its gotten mixed reviews. Yes, it is self-referential. (Honestly, is this a surprise to anyone? Get over it.) Worth reading for Auster-philes? Without a doubt.

The issues Auster takes on in this novella (really, it’s only about 150 pages) are familiar to his readers: questions of identity, memory, the nature of narrative, among others. The writing is tighter, more comp
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Shovelmonkey1
Apr 07, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All established Auster Fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tory
Mar 05, 2012 Tory rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absolutely no one.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gertrude & Victoria
I have to say this was the worst Paul Auster book I've read, and I've read most of his works. If you must read Travels in the Scriptorium, it is best that you keep your expectations in check. That way you won't be bitterly disappointed. From the very first words I thought this story was going nowhere. I was correct. When I had finished it it had gone nowhere. It was a tedious read. And a bore. At least though, the second half was a little better than the first, but overall I thought it was a lam ...more
M. Sarki
Notes while reading this book: I can say that after reading the first twenty-three pages I am hooked. So much going on for me here. I especially enjoyed the sponge-bath happy ending. Beautifully done.

Immediately thinking of Quentin Tarantino's Mr. Black, Mr. Pink, in Austen's character Mr. Blank. The mystery. Also the simple and sparse theater set in the novel reminds me of a stage play being acted out and a response of some sort to Endgame by Samuel Beckett. Again, the mystery is what does it f
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Erika Jhanie
“What the fuck was that?!”, I cried at the very last sentence.
I planned to read another book right after finishing it but no, Auster wouldn’t let me go. I had to make sense of it. I had to understand. I had to.

So I retold myself the significant parts, read back on the details I thought I might be missing and tried to analyze what it was all about.


This book is basically about how the characters and stories created by people, especially writers are bound to haunt them.


Auster illustrated the str
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Xysea
Feb 12, 2009 Xysea rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paul Auster fans, people who like quick reads
Okay, well I read this entire book (90 pages) within a few hours in the Barnes & Nobles. Truth be told, I read it there for two reasons: (a) I have been told to read something by Paul Auster by a few people and (b) I didn't want to pay $16.00 for it.

(My daughter read the Guiness Book of World Records for Kids, lol)

It's an interesting story within a story. The writing, initially, is pretty solid, pretty tight. But the story is hard to keep interested in. A lot of the plot is a description of
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Blair
Travels in the Scriptorium opens like this: a man, known only as Mr. Blank, is apparently imprisoned within a room. He remembers snippets of his childhood, but nothing of how he came to be in the room, and has little to no recollection of his adult life. During the course of the story, he is visited by a number of people - two women who take on nurse/carer roles, an ex-policeman, a lawyer and so on - and recognises them only vaguely, if at all. He contemplates escaping from the room, but seems i ...more
Joshua
I'm not the biggest Paul Auster fan. In fact, I've never really read any of his other books. I got attracted to this book because of its odd cover and a recommendation from another person new to Auster's worlds and he loved it.

This is a terrible place to start for any Auster virgin because from what I can gather, its a bunch of in-jokes from characters that were in his previous novels. Like all meta-fiction, things take a turn for the absurd and questions of truth, art and honesty run abound.

I
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eliafen
بعد از کشور آخرینهای پل استر مدتها بود که هیچ کتابی منو شگفت زده نکرده بود اما باز هم پل استر در کتابی دیگر منو کاملا به وجد آورد. این کتاب با ایدهی جالبی که داره و توصیفات دقیقی که ارائه میده با ذهن خواننده به راحتی و با ظرافت بازی میکنه و در نهایت درست وقتی که ذهن آرام گرفته اونو به هیجان مییاره... توصیه میکنم اول کتاب "کشور آخرینها" رو بخونید از پل استر بعد بیایید سراغ سفر در اتاق تحریر ( همونطور که دوستی به من این توصیهی ارزشمند رو کرد)
اما به این کتاب 5 ستارهی کامل رو ندادم چون انتهای ِبسیا
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TK421
Atmospheric and disorientating. Like being caught in a fun house that is located on the tilt-a-whirl. While most readers will be able to put the pieces of the overall story together, the individual parts of the story are harder to solve. A welcome departure from what I have been reading recently.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Brad
Like Alexander taking his sword to the Gordian Knot, Paul Auster chops away at the knotty loop he's tangled throughout Travels in the Scriptorium -- inelegantly solving the very problem he created while invalidating the reader's input.

Until the ending, this was an obtuse work and brilliant for it's wide angle of perspective because the potential meanings were myriad. Mr. Blank could have been anyone. His crimes could have been anything. His victims could have been everyone or no one. This was a
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Trixie Fontaine
The first Paul Auster I've read where I totally get why some people dislike not just him, but his writing.

Felt like a little self-indulgent quick smarty-pants bullshit project/trick, or maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough to appreciate it. Glad it was short or I never would have finished it (though, annoyingly, it IS something you feel like you need to get to the end of which only helps make you feel manipulated into "getting" it in more ways than one).

I guess I was supposed to feel really d
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Elizabeth (Alaska)
Bizarre.

So bizarre, I was actually frustrated at one point. That might have been more because of other life-happenings than because of the book, so I will discount the frustration part. But only a little.

I picked this up at the library book sale, knowing Auster is on the 1001 list. I didn't have the list with me, and hoped this would be among his titles. It isn't. Neither is the other one I picked up at the same time, but I'll happily read it. Also those titles that are on the list. In spite of
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Jandri
Patinazo de Auster, una novela de misterio tiene como misión primordial enganchar desde la página -1.
Traspasado el meridiano de la historia hay una composición muy interesante sobre como desarrollar una idea para un libro de manera veloz, pero escaso bagaje para tan gran escritor.
No es el Auster que conocí, tampoco es la clásica historia de Auster, te lo diré sin concesiones: "zapatero a tus zapatos".
Arman Azadniya
Too much complicity for an unfulfilled goal. When you start the book, soon you realize " Yesss,this is a complicated story ". it indeed is, but for what price?!
as the story goes on, you've got this sense that " where are the clues ?". you feel like more ties should have been opened till now. the writer refuses to open his hand for you and unfortunately he just makes it harder for himself by making you expect more and more for an absolutely dramatic ending, a dramatic ending that never came.
D
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Caitlin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roozbeh Estifaee
Paul Auster has definitely gotten some brilliant ideas. In this one also he had showed one of those nice things. The old guy who wakes up and finds himself in a completely strange room. And a writer who is moving the whole thing, doing whatever he wants to his characters. Things have been nicely related and formed an elaborated story.
The best part in my opinion was near the end of the book, when the old guy, Mr Blank, is making up the rest of the half finished he has read before that day. He doe
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Simon_Cleveland_Ph.D. Simon_Cleveland_Ph.D.
Auster always surprises me with his stories. In Timbuktu I met a dog and saw the whole story through the animal’s point of view. In Travels In The Scriptorium I meet an old man with suffering from amnesia, but portrayed in a sense that embodies us, the readers. Mr. Blank (strange name for a character), wakes up one morning in a room of what appears to be some sort of sanatorium. Except Mr. Blank feels strangely like a prisoner in this place. The windows are bolted; the room is completely bare, y ...more
Courtney
I guess this is one of those cases of why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I had high expectations, but this book just didn't measure up. If it wasn't such a short book, I probably would have thrown in the towel half way through.
Henrik
When I read this I did not know it was largely based on Auster himself and his fictive universe so far (as other reviews have since told me). It was an odd, yet intriguing man-without-memory-in-a-small-room story.
Katsumi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rose
I like to make my own mind up about books so I don't generally read reviews or research books before I read them. Good thing too because I would have been warned not to start my first foray into Austerland with this book, but I'm glad I did. There were things in the story, names mentioned that to an Auster reader/fan would be almost like an inside joke of sorts & I wasn't in on them thus allowing me to enjoy the story without guessing what was going on. As it was, I didn't get what was happe ...more
Elsje
Ik ben helemaal van mijn stuk. Ik heb nl. zo'n goed boek gelezen: Travels in the Scriptorium van Paul Auster. Nu moeten die grrls die nooit eerder iets van Auster lazen, dit echt niet direct gaan lezen, want het wemelt er van de verwijzingen naar zijn eerdere boeken. En zonder die kennis denk ik niet dat het verhaal overkomt. Ik las tot nog toe slechts twee andere boeken van Auster: Oracle night en New York Trilogy.

Ook Travels in the Scriptorium is weer nadrukkelijk geconstrueerd, dus als je daa
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Bob Redmond
In the brief TRAVELS IN THE SCRIPTORIUM, Auster continues his lifelong investigation of authorship and language, with a big helping of old-man angst.

The central statement in this novel is "the paradox that we [characters], the figments of another mind, will outlive the mind that made us, for once we are thrown into the world, we continue to exist forever, and our stories go on being told, even after we are dead."

Well, that the stories go on being told depends on whether or not the author is more
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Alex
If I am to be honest, the most powerful part of this slim volume is its cover art, a spectral, haunting tableau which, along with long hearing good things about the author, was admittedly instrumental in my picking the book up. I don't regret being suckered in by that hook. I simply wish the story itself had been stronger.

To be sure, the scenario set up in the story is fascinating... the old man, trapped in a room, with no memory of how he got there or where he is. Outside characters and events
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suri amini

پیرمرد روی لبه تخت می نشیند. ذهنش درگیر مسائل دیگری است.
این جا چه می کند؟
در اتاق، وسایلی هست که هر یک با برچسبی یک کلمه ای مشخص شده اند.
روی میز نوشته شده: میز؛ روی لامپ: لامپ، او کیست؟
این جا چه می کند؟
پیرمرد پاسخ هیچ یک از این سئوالات را نمی داند، پیرمرد هیچ به یاد نمی آورد...

"استر" کنجکاوی هر خواننده ای را برمی انگیزد و ابعاد تازه ای به ادبیات مدرن و حتی از آن مهم تر به برداشت ما از انسان اضافه می کند. او مخاطب را از بلندای دنیای جادویی کلمات، بر زمین سخت می نشاند و دوباره به پرواز درمی آور
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Sue Davis
Reminded me of a Borges story--couldn't remember the name of it and then couldn't find it. Turned out to be a Cortázar story, "La continuación de Los parques". It also occurs to me that the theme is similar to that of Unamuno's Niebla. Anyway, I haven't read enough Auster to make the connection between the names Mr. Blank compiles and the characters in previous Auster novels. Still, it's wonderful, amazing and very Borgesian. Central theme (for me): relationship between the "real" world and the ...more
Cecilia
Excelente. Definitivamente, vaya uno a saber cuando, lo volveré a leer.
Veronica
This book was brilliant! I was completely sucked into the story and just wanted to devour it page after page. It was so unpredictable, I had no idea where the story would go and how it would be resolved or if it even would that I couldn't put it down. It was mind-boggling, a little creepy at times but very engaging.

A number of people say this is Auster's worst book. Well, this happens to be the first of his works that I've read and if that's the case, then he really is one fantastic story teller
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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
More about Paul Auster...
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“I walk around the world like a ghost, and sometimes I question
whether I even exist. Whether I've ever existed at all.”
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“The pictures do not lie, but neither do they tell the whole story. They are merely a record of time passing, the outward evidence.” 22 likes
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