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Travels in the Scriptorium

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An old man sits in a room, with a single door and window, a bed, a desk and a chair. Each day he awakes with no memory, unsure of whether or not he ... Show synopsis

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Reviews of Travels in the Scriptorium

Overall customer rating: 2.000
greebs

Unfulfilled Promise

by greebs on Nov 13, 2008

I am a huge fan of Paul Auster - indeed, he's one of my all-time favorite authors. And this novel (so short it's almost a novella) starts out with all the surreal promise many of his books fulfill - an unnamed old man wakes up in a room, with no memory of how he's gotten there and only small clues around the room to help guide him through his day. That day gets odder but in many ways more mundane (long passages about the man we begin to call Mr. Blank wondering where the closet door is, etc.) and eventually we do get a payoff - slightly - on who he is and why he is there. But it's a pretty mild payoff. What makes me lean towards not recommending this book is that, if anything, I'm the target audience for this book. It's not just an Auster work, he references characters from many of his prior books - only by name and without context, so it wouldn't be noticeable by someone who isn't a fan. (Or, in many cases for me, for someone who hasn't read those specific works in a long time.) It's very "inside baseball" and clever by about half. Paul Auster has loads of great novels, and two of his more recent efforts, The Brooklyn Follies and Oracle Night are both superior to this. I'd pass, and cross my fingers that he'll return to form with his next work.

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