Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Invisible” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.68  ·  Rating details ·  19,316 ratings  ·  1,409 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
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2009)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Invisible, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Candido Tomás
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
George P. Maybe Lonnie you would have liked the last 2/3 more. Though maybe not. I have doubts whether reading less than 1/3 makes one qualified to critique a n…moreMaybe Lonnie you would have liked the last 2/3 more. Though maybe not. I have doubts whether reading less than 1/3 makes one qualified to critique a novel, except to say that "as far as I read...".(less)
The New York Trilogy by Paul AusterThe Book of Illusions by Paul AusterMoon Palace by Paul AusterOracle Night by Paul AusterThe Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
Best Paul Auster Books
24 books — 108 voters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Favorite Books
7,067 books — 5,146 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,316 ratings  ·  1,409 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Invisible
I shook his hand for the first time in the spring of 1967. I was a second-year student at Columbia then, a know-nothing boy with an appetite for books and a belief (or delusion) that one day I would become good enough to call myself a poet,...
I love Paul Auster, there's no way around it. I am always intrigued, fascinated and sometimes completely in the dark but he is such a great writer for me. Have read several of his books and fortunately I have some more to go, but this one, again, a gem. Dar
Ahmad Sharabiani
Invisible, Paul Auster

Invisible is a novel by Paul Auster published in 2009 by Henry Holt and Company.

The book is divided into four parts, telling a continuous story, but each section told in a different voice, and by several different authors.

The first section, titled "Spring" and told in first person.

The second section, "Summer" describes the events in Adam's life later that summer in New York sharing an apartment with his older sister, Gwyn. This section of the story is told in second per
Elyse  Walters
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How often does one have the opportunity to walk into a bar, meet a person, for the first time, and then be offered -(all finances covered) - to write a literary magazine?

The year is 1967....
This novel is divided into four sections....
another wonderful Auster novel!!!
This time - I ‘read’ (the physical book), but I could almost hear Paul Auster’s voice reading it ...
like the last few audiobooks I had listened to by him.

In section one: [Spring]
Adam Walker, twenty
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Helene Jeppesen
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
100 out of 5 stars!! One of my favourite books by Paul Auster <3
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
Vit Babenco
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A reader writes a book and a writer reads this book… That is what Invisible approximately comes up to on the side of the plot…
Put something in the wrong place, and even though it is still there – quite possibly smack under your nose – it can vanish for the rest of time.

Invisible is a novel of moral anxiety, of moral qualms and of moral ambiguity. Who is really a villain and who is really a do-gooder? How much of the surrounding world remains invisible to us? How much of the other people’s life i
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
My favorite Paul Auster novel so far. But if you've read "Oracle Night", "New York Trilogy", "Book of Illusions", then you've totally read "Invisible." The brand is unique*, but the plotless-ness can become quite disconcerting. I THOROUGHLY dug this one, reading it all in a day.

* "Timbuktu" is the only one of his that's not "meta." Just really really sad.
Aug 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Allie Riley
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Steven Godin
What happened to the Auster of old? The one that nods towards Beckett and Kafka? The one that made him stand out from the crowd. Whilst Invisible was full of the typical Auster tropes, one being the oddly detached roaming male narrator from the novel's first third, I think not only has Auster got more sentimental with age, but far more mainstream as well. This novel could have been written by so many other American novelists. It started out really well though, and I didn't have a problem with th ...more
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
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. ...more
May 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book caught my interest from page 1. It tells the tale of Adam, who stumbles into a friendship with some very odd people, Margot, and her lover, Born. The tale told is one that is captivating and intriguing. There is some definite ambiguity, and the reader is left wondering how much of Adam's tale is fiction or reality. I would highly recommend this book. The only problem that could annoy a reader is the change from first to second to third person narrative, but I quickly adapted to this ...more
Jun 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Janet Tomasson
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the first time I've read Paul Auster's book. I had just finished it, and the urge to read the rest of his books was burning in me now.

  Fascinating, sweeping, smart, setting a high bar that will include great literary conventions that give almost historic value to the level of writing that the word 'impressive' may insult.

  Auster merges some characters and sets up a thought-provoking discussion of their moral twists and turns. The book intersperses a human mosaic.

  Exciting and painful,
Miquel Reina
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pearl, top-books
Invisible was the first book I read from Paul Auster and since then I think that the famous American author is one of the best writers of our time. Invisible is an intelligent and extremely well-written novel, Auster is a magician of words and twists. However, I have to say that although I liked the novel, I thought that the ending would be much more powerful.

Spanish version:
Invisible fue el primer libro que leí de paul Auster y desde entonces creo que el autor americano es uno de los mejores
Bookmarks Magazine
Dec 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jan-feb-2010
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
54th book of 2020.

A very entertaining novel with many twists-and-turns in the narrative. No very inspiring quotes, or stand-out language, written well, easily read, focusing mostly on plot. This is my second Auster after reading The New York Trilogy last year. I'm eager to read 4 3 2 1 soon, once I've prepared myself for such a tome.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-readings
It was the perfect book for a lazy sunday. Doing nothing but reading and drinking coffee. I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one sitting.
Chris Dietzel
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first part of this book seemed uninspired, and I got the impression that this might be the first of Auster's books I didn't enjoy. But by Part 2 it had my attention and parts 3 and 4 were as good as the author's other books. An odd aside: Auster's titles are usually very obvious in their meaning to the story. However, I still don't know why this one was titled "Invisible." ...more
Daniel Clausen
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2020
There are so many things to admire in this book: the way different levels of narrative are woven together; the unique construction of plot elements and story; his mastery of details within scenes. There is a level of craftsmanship that is undeniable.

And yet...something about the book was off-putting. The first thing that comes to mind is my inability to connect with Adam Walker as a character. The early 60s is a time and place that has drawn me in romantically (Norwegian Wood) before. And yet,
Sam Quixote
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jan 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks-a-z
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
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Kicking myself for not embracing Auster earlier
Larry H
Although I try to read a lot of different books by different authors, I certainly have a group of favorites. If I see a new book by one of these writers (if I haven't been tracking them on Amazon), I will immediately by it when I see it. Paul Auster is one of those. The minute I saw his new book, Invisible, I nearly leapt on it (I'm crazy like that) and, of course, bought it.

Invisible is a well-written, intriguing and odd book. It starts in 1967 at Columbia University. Adam Walker is a college
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kept me coming back. Fully enjoyed it!!
Lars Guthrie
Jan 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jim Coughenour
Nov 29, 2009 rated it liked it
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 prose ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Squeeze Play
  • Paul Auster: Moon Palace
  • A Word Child
  • Assuming Names: A Con Artist's Masquerade
  • The Elephant Tree
  • Mulher em Branco
  • Mordshunger
  • Invisible Monsters
  • Dead Babies
  • هيلين كيلر - شعاع من النور وسط الظلام
  • Cosmic Banditos
  • Crime
  • العالق في يوم أحد
  • No pasó nada
  • Glamorama
  • The Rules of Attraction
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

You might know comedian Colin Jost from his work as the co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or perhaps you know him as Scarlett...
127 likes · 47 comments
“You're too good for this world, and because of that the world will eventually crush you.” 210 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.” 27 likes
More quotes…