Determining that he is locked in, the man--identified only as Mr.Read more...
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Publisher: Tantor Media Inc$20.95
Determining that he is locked in, the man--identified only as Mr. Blank--begins reading a manuscript he finds on the desk, the story of another prisoner, set in an unfamiliar, alternate world. As the day passes, various characters call on Mr. Blank in his cell, and each brings frustrating hints of his forgotten identity and his past.
Both chilling and poignant, "Travels in the Scriptorium" is vintage Paul Auster: mysterious texts, fluid identities, a hidden past, and, somewhere, an obscure tormentor. And yet, as we discover during one day in the life of Mr. Blank, his world is not so different from our own.
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Travels in the Scriptorium
Mysterious, complex and challenging, the new novel from one of America's foremost fiction writers offers plenty for readers to contemplate. Mr. Blank, the elderly lead character, is trapped in a room, where he struggles to regain his memory. He has no recollection of arriving in the room, nor any idea of how much time has passed since he got there. On a desk in the room, Mr. Blank finds a manuscript, which he begins to read, only to discover that it tells the story of another captive, one Sigmund Grafa man not unlike himself. Soon, people from the manuscript visit Mr. Blank in his room, relating pieces of the story of his life. One visitor, Anna, gives Mr. Blank sponge baths and offers him sexual comfort. Other characters include James P. Flood, a former policeman, and Samuel Farr, a doctor, both of whom hint at dangerous journeys Mr. Blank forced them to embark on in his past life. The manuscript itself, meanwhile, describes the development of a new country called the Confederation and recounts the adventures of Graf as he travels to a place known as the Alien Territories. Auster uses the parallel stories of Blank and Graf to build suspense and tension, luring the reader into a world of narrative illusion. As usual with the novelist, all is not as it seems, and the book features an abundance of surprises. Fans of literary fiction will relish this cleverly constructed bookthe latest from a master of the genre.