Circus Folk's Reviews > Travels in the Scriptorium

Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster
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May 24, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: literary-fiction

This book started out as a very clever idea, an attractive, promising premise for a story. A man known only as Mr. Blank wakes up in an austere room with no memory of how he got there. Good premise, no? The writing lives up to the storyline. It is wonderful, minimalist, yet somehow very descriptive. The situation and mental tortures are almost Orwellian. The events and characters introduced were very intriguing. As you neared the end of the book you were starving to see how the author would tie all these mysterious events and people together.

Unfortunately, the ending made me so angry that I have ended up despising this book. Paul Auster is no Jonathan Fowles. Jumping into the story in the manner that he did shattered the entire point of reading his book. Well, if they are all just characters helping you live in infamy (which in and of itself is vain) then what the hell do I want to read your book for? No one cares if you live in infamy. You are not being deep by pointing this out when you have strung your reader along hoping for an ending to the story. It was even torture for Mr. Blank in the book when he could not find out the end to the story! You would think the author would realize what he is doing to his readers. If he does, then he is obviously having fun with the market. Frankly, I can’t believe the book was published with such a half-assed “deep” ending.

Later I discovered that the characters in this book are references to characters in his other books. This is wonderful and all, but the synopsis could have included this for the benefit of readers who haven’t read his past works. I don’t think I will be purchasing another one of Paul Auster’s book ever. Travels to the Scriptorium is a waste of time and effort if you have not read any of his other works. I also have a sneaking suspicion that even previous readers of Auster will find this particular novel stark, uninteresting, and an upfront waste of time.
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