Gregory Kirschling
January 31, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

Travels in the Scriptorium

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Paul Auster
publisher
Henry Holt and Company
genre
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B+

If you’re new to the slinky pleasures of Paul Auster’s fiction, don’t start with his new novella Travels in the Scriptorium, as it derives all of its slow-burning, strange brilliance from at least a passing familiarity with some of the author’s previous titles. But do wind up here eventually, because Auster’s bleak gamesmanship again reaps its usual spooky, minimalist rewards. An old man called Mr. Blank wakes up in a sterile furnished room, with no memory of the days before, unsure if he’s a prisoner or a patient. Who is he? What is this book we’re reading? As in other Auster works, the answers — if you can call them that — confound, pleasurably so.

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