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Oracle Night

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  13,432 ratings  ·  812 reviews
The discovery of a mysterious notebook turns a man's life upside-down in this compulsively readable novel by 'one of the great writers of our time' ( San Francisco Chronicle ).

Several months into his recovery from a near-fatal illness, novelist Sidney Orr enters a stationery shop in Brooklyn and buys a blue notebook. It is September 18, 1982, and for the next nine days Orr
245 pages
Published December 2nd 2003 by Henry Holt
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  13,432 ratings  ·  812 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Oracle Night, Paul Auster
The novel is about a writer named Sidney Orr (Orlovsky), who, after making a miraculous recovery from near fatal illness, buys a new notebook and starts writing a story about a man who completely changed his life when he realized how much his existence was ruled by randomness.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه نوامبر سال 2003 میلادی
عنوان: شب پیشگویی؛ نویسنده: پل آستر (اوستر)؛ مترجم: خجسته کیهان؛ تهران، افق، 1384؛ در 271 ص؛ فروست: ادبیات امروز، رمان 23؛ شابک: 9643691632؛ چاپ دوم 138
I had been sick for a long time. When the day came for me to leave the hospital, I barely knew how to walk anymore, could barely remember who I was supposed to be....

One of the best Austers I've read, seriously.
Auster, you love him or you hate him. I've struggled with his books, but always ended up fascinated.
Auster writes brooding stories, there's always something below the surface and to find out what's going on is a challenge....This is a brooding story too, it was a smooth read for me, enj
Oct 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
The story-within-the-story device gives Paul Auster plenty of freedom to orchestrate this postmodern novel. These are the (fake) jottings of an active writer and they include daily occurrences (diarylike), ideas for plots, a coherent free-flow of thoughts and musings, a scrapbook of so much mixed media which describes a vivid world dabbling in the surreal. His avoiding the usage of quotation marks in the story-within-the-story’s dialogue conveys the continuity of the writer’s imagination. He use ...more
Elyse  Walters
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Audiobook... read by Paul Auster

This was my 3rd time listening to Auster read one of his books. His voice is distinct, engaging, natural, terrific rhythmic flow... complementing his storytelling prose.

I’m late to seriously becoming a fan... but, I’m definitely getting there.
Auster really holds my attention - so much so - I promised myself that the next Auster book I choose - I’ll read it rather than listen to him.
I have a hard time separating the entertainment value between his voice or the s
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Auster mind-meld fans
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: Auster, via all his previous work
Every time I start a Paul Auster book I get twenty pages into it and think,
"That's it. He's finally over stepped the mark. He's jumped from the edge of the clever cliff and into the precipice of w*nky too smart and arty for his own good literature". And then, I am always proved wrong. Sorry Paul I judge you too harshly!*

Another excellent book with the trademark Austerisms. Convoluted, random, perhaps even a little too common place at times, writhing like a bag of snakes the twists and turns had
Oracle Night seems like one of Auster's more perfunctory novels. There is the usual blend of a narrator getting over some big personal tragedy, reflections on the power of language (writing especially in this case), recurring coincidences, a female love interest in trouble, etc. The opening conceit of the blank notebook and Sid's need to fill it has this really interesting, ominous vibe going to it. But Auster doesn't seem all that committed to really diving into it, and by the end of the book i ...more
I read one of Paul Auster’s works, The New York Trilogy, a few years back, enjoyed it immensely, and it was good to get back to reading him again. I think what Auster manages to do in both of the works I’ve read is create a sense of layers of meaning in both the real world and the literary world (the one being written on paper). Both in The Trilogy and Oracle Night, there’s a sense of metacognition or thinking about thinking, or thinking and reflection on the world. Events, people, conflict play ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shall I change the stars I've given this book about 10 years ago because I enjoyed it even more this time? Is it the story or me that has changed?? The changes I've been through these past 10 years must be enormous as I totally connected with the book in a totally different way this time. I love the way Auster puts things, and I even love more how the things unfold gradually through the story. No doubt he is one of the greatest authors I have read.
I will try reading this magical novel when I'm
Oct 01, 2007 rated it did not like it
Through the entire story I had the feeling I was on the verge of stumbling on the meat of it, but it never happened. I stuck with it hoping for even a line that would satisfy the "on-the-verge" feeling, but by the last line on the last page, I realized it wasn't coming. Maybe I'm too dense to really get the underlying substance of this book, but believe me, I was looking for it.
Andrew Kaufman
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's been a long time since I've had a new favourite writer. Paul Auster is my new favourite writer.
'If you have never read Auster before,' proclaims a quote displayed on the cover of this edition of Oracle Night, 'this is the place to start.' I hadn't read Auster before beginning this book, but I'd been meaning to for a while - especially since I've now read three of his wife (Siri Hustvedt)'s books and have gathered that their work ie very similar in style and theme. I wasn't out looking for an Auster book, I was just browsing at the library, but when I spotted it, the intriguing summary and ...more
Rebecca Gransden
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Auster here takes story-telling and uses that as a means to ponder reality and every labyrinthine way this translates through perception. He takes the maze and straightens it out so that every turn, every fork, every dead end corridor or way in or out is set parallel. Then what is left is something like the strata of rock, each layer signifying different eras in soil but here the unknowable passage we take from our point of view, fractured, subjective and incomplete. Auster takes that sample in ...more
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quiet and tempered - my first Auster, and I loved the style.
I enjoyed Sidney's daily life, his writing, his screenplays. I enjoyed the small fantastical elements, but still rooted in reality (the magic of the blue notebook that was never explained). Vulnerable, true to life, and both sad and hopeful.

4.5 stars - knocked down only a bit because the ending was abrupt.

More thoughts under spoiler tag:
(view spoiler)
Jan 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
The story was confusing,the end upset me,and i feel depressed after finishing it....may be it wasn't the right time for me to read it...
the part about his mysterious blue notebook,and how it give Sidney Auster's protagonist,some kind of power over his writing.... and it's effective impact in changing the direction of the story from time to time, was the only interesting thing .....

"Those notebooks are very friendly, but they can also be cruel, and you have to watch out you don't get lost in them
This reminded me most of The Locked Room, the final volume of the New York Trilogy. There’s even a literal locked room in a book within the book by the narrator, a writer named Sidney Orr. It’s 1982 and Orr is convalescing from a sudden, life-threatening illness. At a stationer’s shop, he buys a fine blue notebook from Portugal, hoping its beauty will inspire him to resume his long-neglected work. When he and his wife Grace go to visit John Trause, Grace’s lifelong family friend and a fellow nov ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Auster's favourite theme is randomness, chance. And we see it again in this novel, which is a story within a story within a story, told in Auster's favourite narrative style. Given that there is so much ground to cover in this short book, I'm not sure there is any other way but to "tell" this story. However, only the main story line heads towards any type of conclusion in this book, while the others stall midway, again, demonstrating randomness, perhaps?

I like this book because it deals with the
Sep 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 21st-centurylit
And here I am back with Paul Auster and my ongoing love/hate relationship with him. What keeps drawing me back to him is his treatment of writers and the craft of writing in his stories, and I feel, through reading Auster, that I'm gaining some new insight through his characters. There have been a few sour grapes in our literary relationship, but there's this overwhelming "What is he up to now?" feeling that brings me back.

So here we have Sidney Orr, just released from the hospital after recover
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There aren't many books that make a serious attempt to explore synchronicity, but this is one. I think Sidney goes from a rationalist to a fabulist/mystic though is own limitations often keep him from knowing what he knows. His happiness for being alive at the end of the book is more felt than understood and I liked that; also, that the book self refers to the Trause note which is basically to look for another notebook (of which the novel is the product 20 years later) that allows Sidney to begi ...more
Lee Kofman
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Paul Auster has been too prolific for his own good. Some writers just perhaps need to if not stop writing than at least slow down. I so loved his earlier novels, but Oracle Night is yet another in the string of his more recent books that reads like a soul-less repetition of his once-soulful works. This novel felt to me as being with no centre, just a bag of curiosities with characters that failed to engage me and little mysteries sawn throughout that failed to be solved. The ending was contrived ...more
Kevin Fanning
Jul 08, 2007 rated it liked it
I don't know what to say about this book. I liked. If you look at how much I liked it w/r/t how low my hopes were before starting it, I guess you could say I really liked it. But all things being equal, I mainly liked it.

I think if I'd read this in college I would have wanted to write a paper about it. Although, maybe not because I feel like the book is in despearate need of critical exploration, maybe just because it seems like the kind of book that a college student could fairly easily write a
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autumn, fiction

Everytime I picked up this book, I thought of that old Police song about synchronicity.

Many miles away there's a shadow on the door
Of a cottage on the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake

Every action seems to have a matching coincidence in this volume of wonky fiction. A stationery store suddenly appears where it didn't appear before, selling mysterious Portuguese notebooks. Characters mention trips to Portugal. The stationery store disappears overnight, then re-appears in a different location.

Many mil
Jun 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
That's one of the worst books I've ever read: it's the first book by Paul Auster I've read (and it will be the last one too). Auster has no clue how much his characters are superficial, mean, materialistic, opportunistic, selfish, almost sociopath and lacking of any basic human value (love, family, marriage, friendship, loyalty, trust are just empty words to any of them). 'till the end, I hoped that characters lacked of any positive side on purpose, but I was wrong. Auster had no clue, I bet he ...more
Marina (Sonnenbarke)
What can you say after you've finished reading a book by Paul Auster? This is the third I read by him, and it might even be the most puzzling. To come back to my question: there's nothing to say, there's so much to say.

Nothing to say because you just gape at the wall and say "Wow, such a wonderful book!". But at the same time there's so much to say because Auster's books are so rich you could write a paper on them, and a lengthy one at that.

I won't go analyzing this novel, I'm not the right pers
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what it is that makes Auster's novels so compelling. I mean, he's a smartie that's for sure, and this has all the usual stories within stories within stories, the untied threads at the end, that meta playfulness he's so good at..but that never stops it from being really real and human and full of real life pain and love and anxieties. Maybe there are some aspects of this novel that feel slightly dated, but honestly this was kinda brilliant.
J. A.
Jul 02, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
How quickly (and smartly) this became a novel inside of the novel being written, inside of the novel I was reading.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
4.5 Stars

"I had been sick for a long time. When the day came for me to leave the hospital, I barely knew how to walk anymore, could barely remember who I was supposed to be."

Sidney Orr is a writer and just defied death. And Oracle Night takes place in a nine day span.

Book Blurb
Several months into his recovery from a near-fatal illness, novelist Sidney Orr enters a stationery shop in Brooklyn and buys a blue notebook. It is September 18, 1982, and for the next nine days Orr will live under the
Nov 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: prose, 1970-present
I'm starting to really understand why some people who like Auster well enough don't necessarily look forward to the upcoming Auster book, and think that he should probably take an extended break once in a while, or stop writing novels, period. That probably sounds like a flippant remark, a mark of real dissatisfaction with at least this Auster novel, but it's not, really.

Because I like Auster, and I have no problem with artists who endlessly explore permutations of themes and characters that fa
Jun 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel

Auster at his best. Starts off slowly and it takes around 50 pages to get into the novel (only reason it's not rated with 5 stars) but then it gathers pace and what unravels is a all encompassing novel that, despite its shortness, possesses great depth. Auster juggles so many themes and stories that he sends the reader to a state of nausea and confusion until, like a mighty ubiquitous author, everything is suddenly iluminated in front of our eyes.

This novel challenges our perceptio
Paige Nick
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story within a story, within a story, within ten more stories. I love Paul Auster, but I think this will be my forever favourite of his. At times this week I felt addicted to this book, and I often chose it over Netflix. Auster uses footnotes in his story-telling in a way that make this piece of literary fiction as post-modern as it is old-fashioned. It’s scatty and unfocused in plot, which I loved and was frustrated by in equal measure. But then the inside of a writer’s head (and by extension ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hugely enjoyable! Splendid narration as usual. The usual themes are there: identity, the power of words and pictures, novels within novels, runaways, etc. Auster's stories are both strange and simple, but he has such a talent as a storyteller that his novels are absolute pageturners! I didn't want to finish the book but could not stop reading it at the same time. Such a brilliant author!
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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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