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The Music of Chance

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  6,389 ratings  ·  281 reviews
In a Pennsylvania meadow, a young fireman and an angry gambler are forced to build a wall of fifteenth-century stone. For Jim Nashe, it all started when he came into a small inheritance and left Boston in pusuit of "a life of freedom." Careening back and forth across the United States, waiting for the money to run out, Nashe met Jack Pozzi, a young man with a temper and a ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published March 20th 2001 by Faber & Faber Ltd (first published 1990)
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The New York Trilogy by Paul AusterMoon Palace by Paul AusterThe Book of Illusions by Paul AusterThe Brooklyn Follies by Paul AusterInvisible by Paul Auster
Best Paul Auster Books
7th out of 21 books — 78 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane Austen1984 by George OrwellThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
454th out of 1,315 books — 3,976 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 09, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy being blindsided by the brilliance of random
This book is essentially about some men building a wall. Admittedly it is portrayed as the most sinister episode of landscape gardening that there ever was, but nonetheless it is still, inherently about two men building a wall.

How do you make landscape gardening sinister? Here is the recipe:

Take one sticky situation.
Add two desperate chancers
Mix in two mendacious and sinister old men (soft on the outside but hard as nails on the inside for the desired texture)
Sprinkle on some money
Shake things
In the early zeros, when I worked at the village IGA, Georges, one of the older baggers, came back from lunch with a stricken look on his face. He held up a receipt he found crumpled up by the bank machine across the street.
"Hey. Check!" he said, holding it too close to my face. "Balance $200,000 tabarnak! My life is fucking garbage and always will be fucking garbage."
An unhappy bagger can make for a long afternoon, so I examined the paper, clapped a chapped hand on his shoulder and said, "O
Another enmeshing, enticing, and enigmatic novel from Paul Auster, and one that features yet again a gent infected with the peregrine spirit, unconcerned about such typically weighty matters as steady employment, pursuing a family life, establishing communal roots, etc. This time the narrator, one Jim Nashe—a man who, upon receiving an unexpected inheritance, opts to abandon his young family in order to aimlessly meander about the young country in the purpose of blowing the entirety of his stack ...more
This book left with so much thinking to do and had so many philosophical metaphors that I ended up pushing it on my friends, fully thinking that I had their best interest in mind. But when I actually, thought about it I realized that what I really wanted was someone to discuss the book with. I wanted to talk about the characters and the metaphor and what it was all really trying to say.
Yeah, this is a fabulous book. It deals with existentialism, freedom and captivity, chance and coincidence and
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 28, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Must Read Books for Men; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 to 2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
Pennsylvania in the 80's. 33-y/o Jim Nashe is a bum newly divorced dad who inherited almost US$200,000 from his dead dad who he did not see for almost 30 years. He resigned from his work as a fireman, bought an expensive Saab (car), threw a couple of parties, left his 4-y/o daughter Juliette to his sister Donna and drove around aimlessly across the USA. He likes music (he plays the piano) so he has lots of cassette tapes (this is in the 80s) in the car. The long drives while the music is on seem ...more
Carlos Bennett
Cuando era muy chico y en la televisión me dedicaba principalmente a ver el cartoon network, un día en la tarde puse HBO mientas comía pan con palta y empecé a ver una pelicula muy extraña. Habia dos tipos que viajaban hasta una mansión my tétrica para jugar poker con otros dos tipos mas tétricos aún que (por alguna razón) tenían una ciudad en miniatura construida dentro de su casa, y que entre otras extrencidades habían importado un castillo desde Europa (piedra por piedra: en el cesped enorme ...more
Jim Nashe eredita una cifra discreta ed abbandona Boston ed il lavoro per girare l'America senza scopo e senza meta, sino a quando non incontra un sedicente giocatore di poker professionista - Pozzi - al quale affida i suoi ultimi soldi per sfidare due miliardari, che si presume siano due polli al tavolo verde.

Le cose andranno in tutt'altra maniera.

Auster come al solito sa creare atmosfere ed ambientazioni inquietanti, creando situazioni "ai confini della realtà" con materiale assolutamente ordi
By far the best book I have read of Auster. The characters are brought deeper and deeper into a prison made up of their own careless acts of chance.
The ending reminded me of Kafka's "The Trial" - just as one sees light at the end of the tunnel, a random event changes everything - just like the game of poker in the begining
A friend spoke to me once of "concretizing the metaphor" when trying to write evocative and symbolically pregnant prose. Auster manages to do that very effectively in almost all of his works, and The Music of Chance is no exception. No one reading this work could help but be struck by the three cases of concrete metaphor on display here. The first is Stone's City of the World. The second is Flower's museum of unwanted objects, but the third and most compelling is surely The Wall. William Jenning ...more
Mohsen Rajabi
داستان، داستان شانس آوردن و نیاوردن نیست. داستان این است اگر یکی دو جا شانس آوردی دلیل نمی شود همیشه همان طور باشد. همین طور می شود گفت داستان خواست رهایی و بازگشت به این دنیاست... چه در ابتدای آن که پای شخصیت اصلی هنوز به ماجرای اصلی باز نشده و چه بعد از آن.

با اینحال موسیقی شانس داستان ساده ای دارد. پیچیدگی شاهکارهای کلاسیک را ندارد، و هرچند شخصیت اصلی داستان تقریبا کامل و بسیار خوب، اما بقیه تقریبا رها شده اند.

شاید این ها هم از خوبی های داستان باشد برای نسل جدیدی که اکثرا از زیاد بودن داستان
Steve mitchell
Very well written, very original. Great book but I just couldnt give it a 10. In my book a 10 or 5 on Goodreads demands that I buy the book if I havent (I got this from the library) and tell everyone they must read it.

I think the character Jack Pozzi "Jackpot" is a pun on Ponzi scheme? Just a guess. I wonder if this is Austers reply to the beatnicks on the road, and what happens if a person does not root down somewhere and commit to something. Look at the relationship that Nashe has with the jo
This is a super fun, smart, and ultimately powerful story about chance and money. The tone is both strange and familiar. Much of the dialogue is ripped right out of the experimental crime novels of the 1930s and 40s. The characters are fascinating creeps and lost lovers, and the setting is just bizarre enough to seem both very real and eerily prophetic. It felt timely - re: occupy movement - and timeless - re: chance. A fun roller coaster ride of a plot. Wow... talk about texture. This books is ...more
Jul 24, 2007 Joe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: paul auster fans, obviously.
auster has a tendency for ambiguous, detached endings that leave you with several questions unanswered.. and for the stories in the ny trilogy i think it works perfectly, but for this book it kind of left me a might disappointed. he starts to tell a real straight forward story, and it almost seems as though he ran out of ideas towards the end, left a lot of really important questions unanswered, and frantically put together a closing chapter. besides that... it was an entertaining read. the char ...more
This is not the kind of book I'm used to reading, and I went back and forth with it throughout, often disliking it; finding the characterizations and dialogue thin and unconvincing, but still being drawn in by the hopelessness and futility; the irony of the protagonist's relentless pursuit of freedom, squandering his one means to it, only to end up as a slave through his own reckless and incomprehensibly stupid actions.

That's what compelled me towards the end, though I thought parts of the narr
Yashar Yashmi
خب؟ آخرش که چی؟!

سوال بالا، سوالی است که می تواند تمام ارزش این کتاب را توضیح دهد، جواب این سوال می تواند حکم به بی ارزش بودن این کتاب بدهد و یا برعکس، دو ستاره ی نازنین را به آن عطا کند.

بر خلاف بسیاری که پل استر را پست مدرن می دانند من نمی توانم او را یک پست مدرن تمام و کمال بخوانم. فی الواقع، روش و مشی او بیشتر بازی و سیخونک کردن دنیای مدرن است تا شکستن آن. با این حال، وضیع و چینش این کتاب نظر من را تغییر داد:

اول از همه این که اسم کتاب به شدت بی مسمّاست و در عین حال حاوی بالاترین مفاهیم موجود
Tyler Jones
My favourite Paul Aster novel - and not just because it has poker in it.

Jim Nashe, a Boston firefighter, is as solid a guy as there is. But when he unexpectedly comes into a fair sized inheritance the routine of his life is overturned by the possibilities of what he can now do. He quits his job, buys a nice car and drives all over America, leaving his fate to chance and his decisions to the whim of the moment. When the money starts to run out however, Jim can't bring himself to return to his for
Auster takes an existential theme and hangs it on the hook of a story about two drifters and an epic poker game. In doing so it becomes, for me, Auster's best novel - combining accessible characters with philosophical introspection.
Pablo Guzmán
En La música del azar me encuentro con el Auster de la gran imaginación, del azar, de personajes que intentan vivir y guiar sus propias vidas. Cierras el libro con un final inesperado, tras haber pensado durante 250 páginas que te gustaría lanzarte a la carretera, conducir tu vida; te quieres desatar de personas, trabajo y situaciones, para luego encontrarte y construir con tu pasado, junto a un nuevo amigo, un gran muro hecho de escombros de un castillo, levantando piedra a piedra, metro a met ...more
Richard Bon
For most of the length of this book, it was everything I want in a novel. In fact, for most of the book, it was everything I'd want some theoretical future novel of my own invention to be. Eventually it disappointed me, leaving me wishing for closure on a few key issues, but still, the twists and turns of the plot, the changing moods and nature of the characters, and the build up to its lackluster ending were enough for me to give it four stars - it's a book to which I know I'll refer back when ...more
Edwin Lang

One thing Paul Auster got right in the Music of Chance, in this otherwise light novel, was that losing a woman who means something to you is nothing less than catastrophic. Everything in you aches with loss.

Perhaps there is a type of women from whom it might be prudent to run away if you are a good man because the effect of deepening the relationship with her might be devastating over the long-term, and there is probably no cost, no pain, that one is not willing to sustain in order to escape. B
Σπύρος Γλύκας
Ο Τζιμ Νας περιπλανιέται με το αυτοκίνητο του για περισσότερο από ένα χρόνο, ξοδεύοντας τα λεφτά που έχει κληρονομήσει απ τον πατέρα του βιώνοντας την απόλυτη ελευθερία. Έχει παραιτηθεί απ’ τη δουλειά του, η γυναίκα του τον έχει εγκαταλείψει και έχει αφήσει την κόρη του στο σπίτι της αδελφής του, να ζει με μια άλλη οικογένεια.
Και εκεί που τα χρήματα αρχίζουν να τελειώνουν συναντάει αναπάντεχα τον Τζακ Πότσι, ένα νεαρό τζογαδόρο. Ο Νας βρίσκει στο πρόσωπο του νεαρού τη λύση που αναζητούσε έτσι ώσ
Schlecht geschrieben, Story entwickelt sich nicht gut, logisch unschlüssige Ereignisse
خیلی حس رها بودن جیم رو دوست دارم! سفر به مدت طولانی!! یکی از تجربیاتیه که آرزو دارم. در کل ماجرای جالبی بود، ریسک کردن زندگی بدون ترس!
Paul Auster is one of those artists who works around a reliable set of themes. Haruki Murakami, Martin Scorsese, and René Magritte are comfortably in this company as well. This isn't a bad thing, and I love all of these artists, but it means that I go into a Paul Auster novel with certain expectations, and I have a fairly good idea by now how things are going to turn out. This is also not a bad thing, as the journey to those end points in The Music of Chance is gripping and surreal and haunting, ...more
My Paul Auster marathon (involving much sacrificed sleep) continues. This one opens "For one whole year, he did nothing but drive, traveling back and forth across America as he waited for the money to run out" which is characteristic; sometimes the characters are sitting in their apartments without moving for a year until the money runs out, sometimes they are driving aimlessly across the country, sometimes they are driving purposefully, blowing up small patriotic emblems as they go, but this ex ...more
Romain X.
J'étais de mauvaise humeur et je ne trouvais rien à lire. Après avoir ouvert plusieurs livres, lu les premières pages et aussitôt reposé le livre, j'ai décidé de revenir aux fondamentaux. Direction l'étagère réservée aux romans de Paul Auster et sélection d'un roman au titre évocateur sans être pompeux ni aguicheur — comme l'on en voit malheureusement de plus en plus — La musique du hasard. Comme le laisse supposer le titre, le hasard joue un rôle central dans ce roman. Vous savez, celui qui vou ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Sine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sine by: Sinem
ilk paul auster deneyimim olması açısından önemliydi. aslında bu aralar yeni kitap alma veya başlama niyetim yoktu ama ivan ilyiç'in ölümü ve daha öncesinde okuduğum kitaplar yüzünden ince memed'e adapte olamadım. o yüzden araya daha standart, yöresel olmayan dile sahip, akıcı bir kitap almak istedim. sinem sağ olsun bunu tavsiye etti. bu vesileyle paul auster'la da tanışmış olduk.

paul auster gibi günümüzde herkes tarafından kalburüstü yorumlar alan yazarlara başlamaktan biraz çekinirim. murakam
It is difficult for me to read anything by Paul Auster and not feeling a complete sense of impending doom. Even when things appear to be going well, you know some random tragic unfortunate event is just around the corner. That being said, I think he's an incredible writer and I hope someday to have read all of his novels. In The Music of Chance, the main character Nashe inherits a bunch of money from his estranged father. He uses it to travel aimlessly around the country (reminded me of On the R ...more
James Nashe s'est fait plaquer, avec sa jeune fille, par sa femme Thérèse. Étant pompier, il confie la gamine à sa soeur, car il peut être appelé à tout moment par la caserne. Sa vie va prendre une autre tournure le jour où il reçoit un courrier le prévenant de la mort de son père, qu'il n'avait jamais connu, et dont il hérite d'une petite fortune. Il va alors quitter son boulot, s'acheter une voiture, et partir... Il va rouler pendant des kilomètres et des kilomètres, ne se lassant jamais du p ...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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“You had to invent something. It's not possible to leave it blank. The mind
won't let you.”
“It was a dizzying prospect—to imagine all that freedom, to understand how little it mattered what choice he made.” 1 likes
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