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Invisible

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  10,902 ratings  ·  901 reviews
“One of America’s greatest novelists” dazzlingly reinvents the coming-of-age story in his most passionate and surprising book to date

Sinuously constructed in four interlocking parts, Paul Auster’s fifteenth novel opens in New York City in the spring of 1967, when twenty-year-old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet and student at Columbia University, meets the enigmatic Frenchman
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2009)
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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 AusterOracle Night by Paul Auster
Best Paul Auster Books
6th out of 21 books — 69 voters
Zeitoun by Dave EggersLet the Great World Spin by Colum McCannColumbine by Dave CullenThe Year of the Flood by Margaret AtwoodWolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2009
9th out of 100 books — 120 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shovelmonkey1
Dec 29, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who liked LOST and therefore don't expect an ending
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and all Austers previous work
If you like to read a book with a nice story that makes sense and has a moral/point/definitive ending then you will not want to be friends with Paul Auster. Put the book down, that's it...gently..., now off you go and find something else to read.

If on the other hand you can't be dissuaded and carry on reading this the first thing to know is that you should probably disregard the blurb on the back - it only applies to the first 72 pages of the book. Maybe the person who wrote the blurb only got t
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Blair
This is what fiction should be, in my opinion. Absolutely dazzling, believable yet at times shocking, intellectual without being predictable or dry, compulsively readable but never inane, and above all, completely effortless.

Invisible addresses three seasons in the life of a young man, Adam Walker. In 1967, Adam - a university student and wannabe poet - meets a French professor, Rudolf Born, at a party. What follows is a strange series of events culminating in two main outcomes: the first is Ada
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Max
This is by far the worst book I've read in 2010. I couldnt even finish it; the thought of having to read another 100 pages of drivel led me to thumb through the last pages, only to realize I wasn't missing anything.
How an author that wrote great novels such as The Book of Illusions or Man in The Dark can produce a book that contains no believable characters, no real story and only superficial and empty phrases is a mystery to me. The main character is a spineless loser, whose greatest accomplish
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Tosh
I think a lot of people have given up on Auster, after his series of novels in the 21st Century. But "Invisible," his new one is a winner. He's a guy who keeps on working, no matter what, so you have to appreciate his work habits - but to me as a reader and once fan, well.. his novels became a boring horror show.

And just as I was about to heap him to junk history, his new novel arrives and it's an incredible narrative ride. I think Auster's technique or secret is that he is very much a page-turn
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Allie Whiteley
1967 was a pivotal year for Adam Walker, for it was then, when he was a twenty-year-old student in New York, that he met the enigmatic Rudolph Bern and his then partner Margot at a party. Following the party he is witness to a murder and the consequences of that ripple throughout the novel. Combined with incest and intrigue these events keep you gripped to the very end. Nothing is quite as it seems and, even now, I am not entirely sure of the exact truth.

With regard to style, there are, effecti
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Ginny_1807
Visibile mestiere
Intrigante romanzo interamente giocato sull’ambiguità, il dubbio e il mistero. Finendo di leggerlo, non senza una vaga sensazione di sgomento, per prima cosa si è indotti ad interrogarsi sul significato del titolo : che cosa (o chi) è invisibile? Certamente la verità.
Gli eventi, infatti, vengono presentati in una continua oscillazione di punti di vista e di interpretazione, sia per le tecniche narrative adottate (« io » narrante, seconda e terza persona, lettera, trascrizione d
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Gladia
Spring:
New York: Walker meets Born at a party and the professor, just a few days later and for no good reason, offers to give money to the young student to make a literary magazine. Their professional partnership soon dies when Born stabs to death a boy who's trying to rob him and Walker.
The story is weak since the very beginning and lacks of imagination to explain most of the events. Walker is depicted as a reasonable character but Born, an opinionated on everything French professor who seems t
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Sam Quixote
My feelings are conflicted with this book. I didn't hate it. I got through the book in 4 days, not rushing, and found Auster's style of writing still as compelling and easy to read as ever. On the other hand the story, while readable and familiar, just wasn't as compelling as I think Auster must have thought it was and neither was the bad guy nearly as menacing or complex.

Paul Auster is a literary writer and is a highly respected, bestselling writer of post modern stories. Yet despite this he c
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K.D. Absolutely
May 07, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ace
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010 edition)
Shelves: 1001-non-core
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
R.
"Si comme moi vous lisez pour éprouver le plaisir de tomber amoureux d'un roman, alors lisez Invisible. C'est le meilleur roman que Paul Auster ait jamais écrit.". Ces propos ne sont pas de moi mais de Clancy Martin un journaliste du New York Times. C'est après les avoir lu, au dos du numéro du magasine Lire du mois d'avril, que j'ai décidé de courir acheter ce nouvel opus de Paul Auster. Même si ça me gène profondément d'être à ce point manipulable par la publicité, je ne vais pas m'en plaindre ...more
Jim Coughenour
One rainy spring night back in 1987, I wandered into Guild Bookstore (Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, extinct) and was beguiled by a sexy set of hardbacks – The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster – an author I'd never heard of. Guild was known more for its selection of esoteric lectures by Noam Chomksy than for modernist fiction; this set, published by Sun & Moon Press, looked like something I'd expect to find at the Art Institute. The books had a cool stylish look (including the author photo); the pr ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Invisible contains many of the hallmarks of Auster's trade: formal literary devices and stylistic high jinks, psychological depth, elegant prose, and the manipulation of information, voices, and stories. Told against the background of 40 years of history, with shame and colonial guilt ever present, Invisible feels "warmer and more human than the stuff he's famous for" (San Francisco Chronicle) as well as less contrived and more hopeful. Indeed, notes the New York Times Book Review, it's "a love ...more
George-Icaros Babassakis
Κυλάει καὶ πάει κι ἔρχεται κι ἔχει κόλπα ὡραῖα. Λαμπρὴ ἡ μετάφραση τοῦ Σπύρου Γιανναρᾶ.
Τὸ διάβασα. Ὁ Paul Auster γράφει μὲ ἄνεση μεταβαίνοντας ἀπὸ τὸ πρῶτο στὸ δεύτερο καὶ ἐν συνεχεία στὸ τρίτο ἑνικό. Ἀτμόσφαιρα ποὺ μοῦ θύμισε τὸν Κρυμμένο τοῦ Χάνεκε. Παρίσι. Μυστήριο. Σίξτις. Δυνατοὶ χαρακτῆρες. Ὁργανικὰ δεμένες οἱ ἀναφορές. Ὁ Payl Auster γράφει σὰν νὰ χαρτογραφεῖ τὸ ὡραῖο πρόσωπό του. Ὡς πρὸς τὴν ερωτικὴ σχέση ἀνάμεσα σὲ ἀδέλφια, ἡ Ada τοῦ Ναμπόκοφ παραμένει ἀξεπέραστη.
Heather *Thermonuclear Bomb of Death*
To say I liked this book, or even enjoyed it, would be saying too much. But I thought it was good, which is why I'm giving it four stars. It was good, even though I found nothing and no one within the pages likable or sympathetic. Actually, a lot of it was disturbing. Thinking a book is good while at the same time disliking it is not an experience I've had often, if ever. I have no desire ever to revisit this book.
Chris
Even the overly used and dependable Marmite saying ‘Love it or Hate it’ isn’t appropriate for ‘Invisible’, Paul Auster’s latest novel. ‘Love it AND Hate it’ is more suitable.

I’ve been an enthusiast of Paul Auster’s writing since I read his ‘New York Trilogy’, which I coincidently found in Manhattan earlier this year. So was looking forward to reading his latest work.

The ‘Love It’ bit..
In true Auster style, he provides a master class in creating amazingly descriptive narration. Auster cleverly g
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Ehrrin
Jun 19, 2011 Ehrrin marked it as to-read
read about this at NPR, and also have been meaning to read something by this author...

FROM NPR:
Invisible
By Paul Auster, paperback, 320 pages, Picador, list price: $15

For another truly unsettling book, try Invisible. The most startling love affair takes place between the protagonist, Adam Walker, and his sister. Before you say "ugh," read the book. In wry reportorial style, Auster tantalizes the reader by describing what appears to be the same set of events from three separate perspectives. Even
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Roberto
Invisibile è un libro molto particolare, letterariamente complesso, che mi ha catturato subito. Auster ha una tecnica narrativa perfetta ed è bravissimo a mantenere piani narrativi in continuo cambiamento.

"Scrivendo su di me in terza persona, mi sono soffocato e reso invisibile me stesso, rendendo impossibile trovare la cosa che stavo cercando".

Il romanzo è costituito da varie parti che svelano a poco a poco la trama costringendoci ad analizzarla vedendola da angolazioni diverse.

Il protagonist
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Matt
So......
This is the first book I've ever read by Paul Auster, and I must say, I was very impressed by this thrilling, disturbing and kinda weird book. His grasp of the narrative was absolute throughout, no small feat considering the extreme meta-literary gymnastics he puts the reader through. I enjoyed the unfolding mysteries, the multiple (and often (or maybe not) unreliable) narrators, the jumps forwards and backwards in time, and the globe-spanning locales.
I guess I only knocked one star off
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Lars Guthrie
I hesitated in rating this one, because it was so unsettling. Then, being unsettled can be valuable. It is also Auster, mannered and clever, fey and twee, all at once, with an idiosyncratic voice so ubiquitous that it's hard differentiating between the characters behind the multiple first-person narratives in 'Invisible.' But like the 'The New York Trilogy,' Auster somehow pulls the rabbit out of the hat. Artifice becomes effective trope; the trick turns into truth.

'Invisible' is an investigatio
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Paul
Feb 23, 2010 Paul rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: 2010, crap
This is the first of Auster's novels I have read and if as some reviewers have suggested "his most accessible" this will be my last.

I like the style. The use and misuse of different naratives, it was for the most part an easy read. Thats me for the likes.

The novel starts off in 1967 and how this critically acclaimed author failed to evoke any sense of time and place into the first seventy pages is a worry. The characters, Walker, Born, Margot are so disagreeable you kind of hope that it turns o
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Adam
Post Lisen Review: Describing this book is really difficult. It is very well written, the prose is engaging, the events described in it are incredible yet it is certainly not for everyone. It blurs lines between facts and fiction, it shifts from different narrators and points of view and sums up one single story but at times doesn't feel completely coherent. Yet that it doesn't feel completely coherent is actually more of a strength than a weakness in this case. The book can be very sexually exp ...more
Deniz
My knowledge of Auster is limited to Sunset Park and this novel, but it seems to me that all his characters speak the same. When reading Invisible, not only I thought all the people in the book had the same tone, but I also felt Adam and Miles of Sunset Park were the same person. Adam resembles Miles (or should I say Miles resembles Adam, because Invisible was written before Sunset Park) in the sense that he's "handsome as a movie star" and very intelligent, bright in sports, a genius in literat ...more
Paolo Gianoglio
Mio figlio di 10 anni mi chiede di cosa parla questo libro, perchè mi vede attento e appassionato nella lettura. Provo a rispondergli, ma mi rendo conto che non è possibile riassumere il libro se non raccontandolo per filo e per segno. "E' una storia complicata, allora?" prosegue lui. No, per nulla, mi viene da pensare, e mentre lo penso invece mi rendo conto che è semplice e complicata allo stesso tempo. Questo è il motivo per cui adoro Paul Auster: scrive di storie semplici senza farle diventa ...more
Bart Thanhauser
First time reading Auster. Enjoyed it a lot; started re-reading it as soon as I finished (although I put it down again). Emotional depth, complex characters, ideas of authorship and truth. The second chapter is a tough read. Somewhat disturbing; it made me feel sick. Vague way to put it, but there's a lot of depth to this book. I feel I could re-read it and the book's clever organization (3 narrators tell the story via manuscript, memoir, fiction?), the emotions of the characters, the effortless ...more
Linda
I very much enjoyed this book, although I am not sure why. One thing that stands out, however, is the writing style -- reasonable short sentences that are not overburdened with adjectives and adverbs. The characters are interesting, if not all likeable, and reasonably well-developed.

The book has four parts. In Part I, the narrator - Adam Walker - tells about meeting a visiting professor, who is French, and his live in companion in the Spring of 1967. Walker comes to despise this man and the impa
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Germancho
While technically and structurally perfect, it lacks two things that I usually like in Auster's books: either 1) a deeply human element or 2) a descent into madness. I can live without the latter (it's probably good that the book is not so formulaic), but it was sad not to see a human side of the characters.
Emma
Finally read my first Auster. Needless to say it won't be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was beautifully confronting and leaves you to fill in the blanks. Brilliant.
Laura
3.5 stars

For the first half or so, I wondered if this was a test: how reprehensible does a person have to be before one abandons him as such? Adam Walker just drags the reader deeper into a moral abyss. You can forgive one thing, excuse another as his age, the era, see another through the lens of insufferable grief. But then he goes a step too far, and there's no telling where else this will go.

But then... we get another perspective, calling into doubt Walker's distasteful confession. And if tha
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Mark Flowers
James Wood had a rather overwrought take down of Paul Auster (in reference to the new novel, Invisible) in the New Yorker a couple of weeks ago (although it does begin with a pretty hilarious parody of Auster's standard plot):

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics...

Woods arguments against Auster's fiction seem to be essentially three:
1) His prose itself is overly mired in detective fiction boilerplate:
"He says things like 'Your ass will be so cooked, you won’t be able to sit down again for the
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Michael
Melodramatic, unbelieveable, and confused mish-mash story of a young college student/poet, Adam Walker, who gets involved with a strange couple in 1967. The man, Born, pushes him into a sexual affair with his mistress, Margot, and then proposes to back him in publishing a literary magazine before everything collapses when Born flees for Paris after he casually murders (we think)a would be robber while strolling through the park with Walker. The devastated Walker then falls into erotic affairs wi ...more
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21st Century Lite...: 6-14 Invisible: Overall 28 45 Jun 26, 2014 12:27PM  
21st Century Lite...: 6-14 Invisible: Part IV 22 26 Jun 24, 2014 02:14AM  
21st Century Lite...: 6-14 Invisible: Part II 24 24 Jun 17, 2014 12:58PM  
21st Century Lite...: June 2014 Mod Pick 20 79 May 27, 2014 02:53AM  
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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...
The New York Trilogy The Brooklyn Follies The Book of Illusions Moon Palace Leviathan

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“You're too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.” 126 likes
“You both love Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, Hawthorne and Melville, Flaubert and Stendahl, but at that stage of your life you cannot stomach Henry James, while Gwyn argues that he is the giant of giants, the colossus who makes all other novelists look like pygmies. You are in complete harmony about the greatness of Kafka and Beckett, but when you tell her that Celine belongs in their company, she laughs at you and calls him a fascist maniac. Wallace Stevens yes, but next in line for you is William Carlos Williams, not T.S. Eliot, whose work Gwyn can recite from memory. You defend Keaton, she defends Chaplin, and while you both howl at the sight of the Marx Brothers, your much-adored W.C. Fields cannot coax a single smile from her. Truffaut at his best touches you both, but Gwyn finds Godard pretentious and you don't, and while she lauds Bergman and Antonioni as twin masters of the universe, you reluctantly tell her that you are bored by their films. No conflicts about classical music, with J.S. Bach at the top of the list, but you are becoming increasingly interested in jazz, while Gwyn still clings to the frenzy of rock and roll, which has stopped saying much of anything to you. She likes to dance, and you don't. She laughs more than you do and smokes less. She is a freer, happier person than you are, and whenever you are with her, the world seems brighter and more welcoming, a place where your sullen, introverted self can almost begin to feel at home.” 11 likes
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