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The Book of Illusions

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  18,731 ratings  ·  1,021 reviews
Six months after losing his wife and two young sons, Vermont Professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost film by silent comedian Hector Mann. His interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 13th 2003 by Picador Paper (first published 2002)
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David Yes it is; definitely. Also thought provoking and confusing

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3.89  · 
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 ·  18,731 ratings  ·  1,021 reviews

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Richard Derus
Jan 23, 2012 rated it did not like it
Rating: one furious, disgusted star of however many stars there are in a galaxy

I've never been fond of pompous writing, the kind that checks its look in the mirror of acclaim and piles on the self-satisfied smirking smugness that makes me want to torch all the MFA schools I can reach.

My review, which I've moved to my blog, says that and more. Apparently the hoi polloi slithering in from the Internet's more sanctimonious quarters don't agree with me, therefore I must be wrong.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Book of Illusions, Paul Auster
The Book of Illusions is a novel by American writer Paul Auster, published in 2002. It was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2004.
Set in the late 1980s, the story is written from the perspective of David Zimmer, a university professor who, after losing his wife and children in a plane crash, falls into a routine of depression and isolation. After seeing one of the silent comedies of Hector Mann, an actor missing since the 1920s, he
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have changed my mind about this book. The first pages were tough to read and I wasn't sure if I could make it to the end. But the story grew on me. This book has been on my shelves for a long time, the first Auster I bought. I just love Brooklyn Follies, was intrigued by Man in the Dark and Auggie Wren's Xmas story is great as well. The story line is intriguing: A man looses his wife and two children in a plane crash. In sorrow, he is fascinated by a silent movie actor, who disappeared from th ...more
Will Byrnes
Sep 15, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: american
Born Again and Longing for It All to End

I’m guessing, but I don’t think this book was ever seriously edited. It appears to have been written in a continuous stream, not of consciousness but of wherever Austen’s characters wanted to take him at the moment to extricate themselves from frequent literary culs-de-sac. And this includes an immense amount of random detail of relevance to neither the plot nor the characters. The result is a fair short story imitating a rather bad middling size novel.

Dec 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Paul Auster, you bastard!

The man writes such depressing stuff. As with the other Auster I've read (I know I've only read 2 Austers, I am such a failure at being pretentious), I finished this and I was like... what, why did I read this?

To explain myself I should say that I follow the Roger Ebert school of criticism. Roger Ebert cares more about how a movie makes him feel than on its technical merits. Granted, this is rather less valid in the medium of words on a page than the sound and fury of fi
عبدالرحمن عقاب
رواية رائعة!
هذه تجربتي الثانية مع أوستر. روايته عبارة عن معمل إبداعي. تجذبك بقوّة إلى أعماقها. وتبهرك بحيويتها ومفاجآتها. فتكون بذاك مغامرةٌ ممتعة وفريدة.
هل كلّ رواياته كذلك؟ لا أستطيع الحكم لكنّ حدسي يقول ذلك.لأنّ عمله الأوّل الذي قرأته (رحلات في حجرة الكتابة) يوحي بأنّ هذه بصمته الروائية.
رواية عن ممثل كوميدي صامت يختفي فجأة. أو هي دراسة جادة بشكل روائي عنأعماله وتفاصيلها ورسائلها. أو هي رواية فتاةٍ تلتقي هذا الكاتب وتكبر في كنفه فتقرّر الكتابة عنه كتابًا طويلاً. أو هي رواية عن كاتبٍ يكتب كت
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
By reading this book I have become a die-hard Auster fan. The man is amazing. So clever, so imaginitive, so poetic and almost profound. This book rambles, and in doing so touches on so many intertwined narratives that one almost gives up on what was assumed to be the original plot and assumes the opening catch phrase was just another Paul Auster smoke screen story line. But this one, even in creating such an intricatedly woven network of a character experiences, never looses sight of its ultimat ...more
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Paul Auster obviously has a thing for men who linger between reality and nothingness. Men whose realities take a turn towards the vague, so much so, that they seem to dress themselves in the vagueness that surrounds them. Men who lose everything or men who never really had anything to begin with. Men who seem to be caught for good inside an illusion along with everyone that surrounds them. Now they’re here, now they’re not. There are two of those men in The Book of Illusions: the narrator and He ...more
Jun 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ala-notables, 1001
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Parastoo Ashtian
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب من از دل اندوه و افسوس عمیقی زاده شده بود. حتی حالا که آن دوران را پشت سر گذاشتهام آن اندوه رهایم نکرده است. نوشتن درباره کمدی بهانهای بیش نبود، دارویی بود که یک سال تمام هر روز بی رعایت زمان بندی میخوردم تا درد درونم را آرام کند. از برخی جهات این دارو اثر کرد.

متن از کتاب
Steven Godin
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, america
Being drawn into Paul Auster's fiction was one of the reasons my reading became more widespread. This story grabbed me from the off, and was indeed difficult to put down. Ok so he is an acquired taste, but there is just something about his writing that hooks you in and doesn't let go so easily. The story here is both captivating and strangely mysterious. It's all about digging into the past in quite an obsessive manner, just who was Hector Mann?, what happened to him?, is he still alive?, grippe ...more
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

بول أوستر رغم ( أمريكيته) بيقدر يدمج القاريء مع روايته بكل سلاسة، ويقدر ينسج خيوط حبكته بكل مهارة ويمهد للأحداث ببراعة يحسد عليها.

ورغم أنه مش من مفضليني، إلا إنه روائي عظيم بإمكانيات مهولة، وخاصة لما تتطرق روايته للكلام عن السينما في عصورها، بتلاقي تأريخ ممتع للغاية متناسق جدا مع الرواية.

رواية جميلة ممتعة قوية، أوستر هنا بيتجلي وبيبعث روايته من أنقاض الحياة، ويستدعي تفاصيل بسيطة ليبني حبكته كشرارة تشعل النار، لنجد في النهاية أنفسنا مرسومة عبر صفحات الكاتب الأمريكي، رواية سينمائية مشاهدها مكتوبة
David Zimmer is a teacher and writer whose wife and two young sons have been killed in an aeroplane crash. At his lowest ebb, suicidal and alcoholic, David sees a silent film on television and laughs for the first time since the tragedy. Thereafter, he develops a fascination with the actor featured in the old movie, Hector Mann - a minor star of silent comedies who vanished in 1929 and was never seen or heard of again. Travelling around the world in order to visit the film archives containing He ...more
George Georgiadis
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hamburger
Μου θύμισε εκείνη τη φράση που ειπώθηκε δια στόματος Μάθιου Μακόναχι στην πρώτη σεζόν του True Detective: "To realize that all your life, all your love, all your hate, all your memories, all your pain, it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person". Μεγάλος Auster και πάλι.
May 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who's stranded in an airport for 24 hours
I just recommended this book to someone stranded in the Minneapolis airport. I had forgotten how much I liked it until I saw it sitting there quietly on the shelf, minding it's own business.

This is why real books are so much more awesome than ebooks--they come back to tickle your mind. That, and when you spill wine on them (like I did on my copy of The Book of Illusions) they don't give up the ghost in an electric funeral.

Anyhow. Take that, Minneapolis.
Alika Aion
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Grief-striken wordsmiths and lovers of silent film trying to piece their lives back together
A surprising book that is riveting through to the final words. I say "surprising" because at first it's not clear as to what kind of book this is going to be. As with some of Auster's other work, the novel is told through a first-person narrator who happens to be a writer. We get long accounts of the book he is writing (about a silent filmmaker who went missing some years prior) and almost forget that there is a narrator involved, that we aren't reading a third-person account of this filmmaker's ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primo romanzo che leggo di un autore, Paul Auster, di cui ho letto sempre bene, special modo per il suo romanzo più famoso, vale a dire "Trilogia di N.Y".
Psicologicamente sopravvissuto alla morte della famiglia in un disastro aereo, David Zimmer attraversa un normale periodo di depressione e sconforto assoluto interrotto, quasi magicamente (o, per l'appunto, in modo illusorio), dalla visione di un film muto alla televisione. In questa pellicola, che lo fa ridere fino alle lacrime, c'è un attore
Dimitris Passas
''Ένιωθε κάποιο ολοένα και μεγαλύτερο τμήμα του μυαλού του να διαλύεται μέσα στο κρανίο του. Η ζωή είναι ένα ονειρικό παραλήρημα, ανακάλυψε, και η πραγματικότητα ένας μετέωρος κόσμος γεμάτος με επινοήσεις και παραισθήσεις, ένας τόπος όπου όλα όσα φαντάστηκες ποτέ πραγματοποιούνται.''

Το ''Βιβλίο των Ψευδαισθήσεων'' δεν προσθέτει, αλλά ούτε και αφαιρεί κάτι από το προσωπικό, καλλιτεχνικό κεφάλαιο του Πολ Όστερ, ο οποίος καταπιάνεται, για μια ακόμη φορά, με το θέμα που φαίνεται να τον κατατρύχει
Mar 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Oh Mr. Auster, what are we to do with you? This might have been the last book I end up reading by Paul Auster. It's been a nice ride, but I think he's run his course in my literary life. He's not doing anything great with language, though that's not really his "thing" anyway...he's more about playing with narrative and building pseudo-complex plots whose ideas aren't fully realized.

There was a lot in this novel that I found almost laughably cliche, but the bath tub sex scene towards the end sta
Shila shokouhifar
جدا از هر نقد و برداشت ادبى ،بايد حرفى را بزنم كه اين كتاب را برايم نماد آن كرده؛ كتاب اوهام تنها يك كتاب نيست كه شما از قفسه بر ميداريد روى كاناپه دراز ميكشيد و ميخوانيد ... نه . كتاب اوهام كتابيست كه انگار تمام كتابهاى قفسه را يك به يك برداشته ايد روزها و ماه و سالها وقت صرف كرده ايد ،روى كاناپه و موكت و تخت و پشت ميز نشسته ايد ،دانه دانه كتاب ها را زندگى كرده ايد.
كتاب اوهام همان فيلمى ست كه با تمام وجود ،پلان به پلان ديده ايد و حتى قسمتى كوچك از كادر هم از ديدتان در نرفته... اصلا تا بحال اينگ
Daniel Polansky
This sucked. Sucked sucked sucked sucked sucked. Utterly mediocre. Shoddily written, never pretty and often not even competent (a rough third of the book consists of the narrator describing movies which don't exist). The characters are paper thin, their motivations largely nonsensical. Its got Auster's usual obsessions about identity, and writing as a form of creation, and blah blah blah, but it doesn't lead into anything meaningful. This was my third Auster book, as mentioned, and I feel confid ...more
Muhtelif Okumalar
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okuduğum ikinci Paul Auster kitabıydı.
Yine adım adım beni avuçlarına aldı.
Okudukça sevdim, sevdikçe okudum.
David Zimmer'in, kendisi gibi ölüm ve yaşam arasında bir yerlerde var olmaya çalışan bir komedi oyuncusunun hayatını inceleyerek başladığı hayata geri dönüş yolculuğunu seveceksiniz. Çünkü hepimiz bazen kayboluruz, bizi mahveden olaylar yaşar ve yolumuzu bulamayacağımızı sanırız. Ama hayat yaşamak için var ve görmeyi istersek bir sürü çıkış yolu gözlerimizin önünde.
The Reading Bibliophile
I read this more than ten years ago, so I cannot write a detailed review. But I can still remember the feeling of eagerly reading this book. And that's a good memory.
Piaccia o o no, posso scrivere solo quello che ho visto e sentito – non quello che ho perduto. La mia non è tanto un’ammissione di fallimento quanto una dichiarazione di metodo, un’affermazione di principio. Se non vidi la luna, vuol dire che non c’era

E’ il primo libro di Paul Auster che leggo e non ne sono rimasta affascinata; ne riconosco i meriti (grande capacità di scrittura, raffinata caratterizzazione psicologica dei personaggi, collegamenti interessanti con la la letteratura europea) ma
May 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Paul Auster
Recommended to Michael by: The library dollar bin
Paul Auster needs to stop. Now. In the beginning (starting with The New York Trilogy) his work was an interesting theoretical experiment. As of late he's become a caricature of himself. I'm tempted to accuse him of plagiarizing the Paul Auster of 20 years ago. The transcription of that court case would be like a general survey of his career and what he still insists on doing in his literature. The prosecution (Paul Auster) would convince the jury that the defense (Paul Austen, probably under a p ...more
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
Como sempre, demorar um mês ou mais (como foi o caso) a ler um livro é mau sinal. Especialmente se for um livro com menos de trezentas páginas.

Esta minha primeira vez com Paul Auster não correu muito bem. Custou-me um bocado entrar na história, já que eu não estava nada à espera de começar com uma monografia sobre o cinema mudo do início do século vinte, e, quando a história supostamente a ficar interessante, eu já tinha desmotivado.

Claro que se eu tivesse conseguido gostar da história, ou das p
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
ვიტყოდი, რომ ოსტერის საუკეთესო ტესტია, რაც მე წამიკიტხავს-მეთქი, მაგრამ "შუშის ქალაქი" და "ოგი რენის საშობაო ამბავივით" მაინც ვერ შემაყვარა თავი.
ისე კი ძალიან კარგი წიგნია.
უბრალოდ ამ კაცს რასაც დავაკვირდი, ზოგჯერ ძაან წიკებში გადასდის ამბებში კიდევ ახალი ამბების მოგონება, რაც ყოველთვის სასიამოვნო ნამდვილად არ ვერ არის ხოლმე. ამის გამო -1 ვარსკვლავი.
თუმცა ფრიად ბომბი ავტორი რომაა, წყალი არ გაუვა ამას! <3
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
უკომენტაროდ , უმაგრესია❤

"არსებობს ფიქრები,რომლებსაც შეუძლიათ შეშალონ ადამიანი,მახინჯი ძალმოსილების აზრები,გაფიქრებისთანავე რომ გხრწნიან.მეც მეშინოდა იმის,რაც ვიცოდი,მეშინოდა რომ ამ ცოდნის გამო საშინელების განცდას ვერ მოვიშორებდი,ამიტომ იმ ფიქრების სიტყვებად გარდათქმა არ მინდოდა და თავს მანამდე ვარიდებდი,სანამ სიტყვებმა ჩემზე ძალაუფლება არ დაკარგეს."
Dec 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A few of my favorite things: smart men, secret lives, cinema, facial scars, multi-layered mystery, artistic masterpieces unveiled, itchy sexual tension...I can't love this book any more. One of my favorite books ever.
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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
“We all want to believe in impossible things, I suppose, to persuade ourselves that miracles can happen.” 131 likes
“I was perfectly calm and perfectly insane, perfectly prepared to accept what the moment had offered. Indifference of that magnitude is rare and because it can be achieved only by someone ready to let go of who he is, it demands respect. It inspires awe in those who gaze upon it.” 30 likes
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