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The Book of Illusions – “Beneath the Surface”

February 22, 2013

The Book of Illusions

by Paul Auster

321 pages, $10.98

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Paul Auster

Paul Auster

I’ve been on and off about this author. I read The New York Trilogy, a few of his other novels and I actually heard him read at the Wisconsin Book Festival a number of years ago. I always thought he got caught up a bit too much in his own games.

Until now. The Book of Illusions probes the mystery of a silent film star/writer/director who disappears. I was attracted to this at first because I liked the movie, The Artist, in black and white and pretty much silent. But Auster goes beyond that in his analysis of movies and writing that depend upon reader involvement. We bring ourselves and our own experiences to the story often in a way we can’t confront them in real life.

I love the description of these films (old and some made later that no one has seen). Besides the subtext of grief, there is a question of doing art for art sake that had me probing why I do my own work. There are brilliant twists and turns in the book that seems to double back on itself in a very satisfying way. Wonderful credibility. Wonderful insight into the creative process.

The description of writing in a final film, The Inner Life of Martin Frost, comparing it to a mysterious woman who shows up uninvited and dies when the piece is completed, is one I will never forget.
Thank you Paul Auster. You have changed my life.

Cocktail

Buy this directly from Amazon. Click: The Book of Illusions: A Novel

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