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1001 book reviews > Invisible, by Paul Auster

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Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 474 comments Aside from the shock value of the incest in the second section and the experimental structure of the overall book- first person in the first section, second person in the second section, third person in the third, and then a switch to a different character's perspective for the fourth section- this was a rather uninteresting book. A young man with an unhealthy sexual obsession with sex and with his sister meets an older man who works as a visiting professor in the same American university. These two men develop a brief friendship, and then have an adventure with a mugger that ends unfortunately, and the young man takes it upon himself to impose his version of right and wrong on his friend, to the point where he becomes obsessed with tracking down the older man and either bringing him to 'justice' or avenging the mugger at any cost.
The young man seemed too bizarre in his motivations and actions for me to find him relate-able or believable, and the older man is just as caricatured. Both men seem to have a very hard time interacting with most women without turning to sex, and the women seem awfully compliant, while at the same time not really interested in these men. I suppose this book is supposed to address the concept of free love from the Vietnam era, but the result in this book was unsatisfying. There is also an element of avoiding the draft, and coming to terms with the war in Vietnam in all its wrongness and pointlessness. As an experiment in novel structure, this book was more effective, but I would not have included it on a 1001 Books list. I gave this book 3 stars.

Diane  | 2044 comments Rating: 2.5 stars

I usually like Auster's books, but this has been my least favorite so far. I appreciate the good writing and the innovate use of narration and structure (which caused me to give an otherwise high-ish rating), but I didn't care for the story or the subject matter. Incest was a large part of the plot and I found this book more sexually graphic than his other books. Overall, not an enjoyable book for me.

Kristel (kristelh) | 4116 comments Mod
I find it still hard to review this book. This book by Paul Auster is a tough one to swallow because it contains some distasteful subject matter that occurs in the second part. At that point I had to take a step back and I decided to look at what Wikipedia had to say about the book to see if I could justify continuing on. This did help. The book is in 4 parts and the author is writing about a young character who is a literature student. This student has a series of circumstances that leaves him feeling like he is trapped. After the first section, when the protagonist is confronted with an event, he has to escape. He starts to write his memorial almost what feels like an act of confession. This first section is called spring (first person). Then the second part is called summer, the third is called fall, all in a different voice. The title is 1967. The fourth section is from another person's perspective. The book has themes of tension of sex and war in hearts of radicals. While a person can appreciate the writing and the structure. The plot themes of sex and incest can be uncomfortable reading. I agree that this is my least favorite Auster book's so far. It is his 13th novel.

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