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"The Book of Illusions" by Paul Auster

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"The Book of Illusions" is one of the most appropriate titles I have run across. In it, Paul Auster describes a continual series of misconception, misapprehension, broken promises, regret ... let us count the ways.

The illusions revolve around a series of silent film actors and producers. Each principal believes he or she can have a life with another who wants nothing to do with it. Hector Mann, a main player in this drama, left filmmaking many years ago and directed that all his oevre be destroyed, reducing all of it to the level of an illusion. Did it ever really exist? He lived in a ranch in New Mexico, called the Blue Jewel until his (accidental? suspicious?) death. In one of the great and grand illusions of this book, he named his ranch after a brief but memorable episode in his life: he is out walking his dog on a damp evening, when he thinks he sees a jewel asparkle on the sidewalk. He inspects it closely only to find it a shiny spot of spittle.

Auster is a robust prose artist. His plot pulls us along but has the delicacy to reflect and reverberate against and within itself. This story will engage you, and will make you wonder at Auster's skill.
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