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The Music of Chance

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  8,401 Ratings  ·  425 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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Rating details
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Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana
Non il primo libro scritto da Auster, ma il suo primo che ho letto, quello che me l’ha fatto conoscere e frequentare (da lettore) per diversi anni.
Mi mise dentro una voglia fortissima di continuare a leggerlo, e per questo inseguii a lungo la cosiddetta trilogia di New York (‘Città di vetro’, ‘Fantasmi’ e ‘La stanza chiusa’) che all’epoca era fuori catalogo (Rizzoli).
Poi, fu finalmente ristampata da Einaudi.

Mandy Patinkin nel ruolo di Nashe e James Spader in quello
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An enigmatic parable for the age of debtocracy... A farce that can be read as a thriller, a thriller that can be read as a farce... An absurdist version of Hubris and Nemesis... Chance is fate, fate is chance...
Oct 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
A macabre fable about fate and chance and randomness and destiny.Plenty of philosophical reference and dilemmas sprinkled throughout the tale.Throw in some Greek mythology also.Lots of the classical Auster themes and characterisations are here.Enjoyed the reference to Rousseaus target practice in a forest,I can relate to that.
Not for everybody but I really enjoyed it.
Discovered afterwards that it was made into a movie.Apart from his most recent novel I think I have now completed the entire Auste
Vit Babenco
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What is a human fate? Is it a preset pattern decided by some divine providence from above? Or is it just a hellish roulette?
“It was one of those random, accidental encounters that seem to materialize out of thin air – a twig that breaks off in the wind and suddenly lands at your feet. Had it occurred at any other moment, it is doubtful that Nashe would have opened his mouth. But because he had already given up, because he figured there was nothing to lose anymore, he saw the stranger as a reprie
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Luís C.
Jim Nashe is a frivolous Boston fireman who needs music as a life crutch. His wife abandons him just before his father dies, leaving him money that he squanders aimlessly while driving around America. Near desperation, he meets a bitter young itinerant gambler, Jack ("Jackpot") Pozzi, who lures him into a losing poker game with two shady recluses, Flower and Stone, on their Pennsylvania estate. Nashe and Pozzi must retire their debt by building a stone wall on the premises: what this Herculean l ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynne King
I think that I had an absolute brainstorm in reading this book. Do I love it? Do I hate it? I really don't know but frustration kept me continuing my reading marathon and this to me is sheer insanity. Imagine a man, Jim Nashe, who has inherited a small fortune. He wasn't unhappy working in the Fire Department but he was separated from his wife and this is where the insanity begins.

With this serendipitous money, Nashe buys a new car and goes on a mad driving trip through the States. He is a man d
Steven  Godin
Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, america
Another strange but absorbing read from one of America's finest, its a little on the short side but is instantly recognisable as Auster. Featuring oddball eccentric characters and elements of The Brothers Grimm and Samuel Beckett, its quite a straight forward story basically about a couple of guys losing a game of poker then building a wall as a way to clear the debt, its told in a way that makes it feel like a surreal fable. There is also a shocking ending I didn't see coming. For fans it's a w ...more
Feb 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  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
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
نمیدونم چرا تا آخرش خوندم:(..کتابی ضعیف از پل آستر..انتظار این همه بد بودن رو نداشتم..هیچ چیز نداشت این کتاب جز مکالمه های بی سر وته که چیزی برای یادگرفتن نداشت...البته دوسه تا جمله بود که خوب بودن ولی در کل کتاب خوبی نبود..به امید کتاب بهتری از آستر:)
bir garip su
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul’da bir şey var. Öyle bir şey var ki, beni hapsediyor. Tesadüflerin Adamı diye isim takmıştım bir aralar. Sıkılmadığım, dikkatimi dağıtmadan okuduğum o nadir yazarların başında geliyor.
Ste Pic
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amerikani
giudizi in un haiku

e ti porta via
il caso se ti prende
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Per calcare la mano sul suo tema più caro, "il potere sconfinato del Caso", Paul Auster propone in questo romanzo una sequela di situazioni e di eventi più che mai strani, strampalati, gratuiti.
Non solo il Caso, in effetti, anche la fantasia ha un potere sconfinato, se lasciata libera, e sa produrre di tutto: con grande facilità, per dire, una brutta storia, un brutto libro. Il fatto è che, mentre il Caso ha un potere sconfinato che ci domina, la fantasia, quando si scrive, deve (dovrebbe) esser
Dec 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Michael Bohli
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
"Die Musik des Zufalls" ist ebenso kurz wie merkwürdig. Paul Auster, meisterlicher Autor in schwermütigen Charaktergeschichten und surrealen Wendungen, nutzt hier die missliche Position zweier Männer zu einem sehr andersartigen Stück über Werte, Schulden und Vergeltung. Mehrfach wird die Geschichte komplett auf den Kopf gestellt, das eigentlich langsame Tempo an einigen Stellen extrem beschleunigt. Und wenn am Ende das Buch so abrupt endet wie es begann, dann hat sicher weder ein Kreis geschloss ...more
Carlos Bennett
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mohsen Rajabi
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Paul Auster,beyzbol maçı bile anlatsa,beş yıldız alır benden.Hayranıyım kendisinin...
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

وقتي شانس به آدم رو مي كنه، هيچ چيز نمي تونه جلوش بگيره. مثل اينه كه يك دفعه همه ي دنيا سر جايي كه بايد باشه قرار مي گيره. انگار آدم بيرون از خودشه و تمام شب معجزه هاي خودش رو تماشا مي كنه. ديگه ربطي به تو نداره. از دستت خارجه و تا وقتي زياد بهش فكر نكني، اشتباه نمي كني.

Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed my first foray into Auster. I thought this novel was well constructed and delightfully disorientating. I also really enjoyed the absurdist undercurrent. I would have given it five stars were it not for the fact that I found some of the exchanges between Nashe and Pozzi a little grating.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama, ficción
El primer tercio me ha parecido malillo, lleno de clichés de otras road movies y novelas del estilo. A partir de al partida de poker, sin embargo, me ha empezado a interesar mucho, y la segunda mitad entera me ha encantado y la considero de lo mejorcito que he leído de Auster. Siempre que no sé qué leer vuelvo a él y de momento nunca me ha defraudado.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, novel
دکلخوانی! ...more
Steve mitchell
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Yashar Yashmi
Jul 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, review
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
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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.”
“Once a man begins to recognize himself in another, he can no longer look on that person as a stranger.” 5 likes
More quotes…