I'm a Paul Auster fan; I haven't read all his books, but The New York Trilogy is a great book, as is The Music of Chance. The Book of Illusions may not be quite as good as either of those two novels, but I did find it compelling, moving, and enjoyable to read.
The narrator, David Zimmer, has lost his wife and children in a plane crash. He recounts how he coped with his grief through drinking and trying to withdraw from the rest of the world until he came across the almost-forgotten work of silent film comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer becomes obsessed with Mann, traveling around the world to see his remaining films, and writing a book about Mann's work. Mann had disappeared in 1929, and has been presumed dead, but Zimmer gets a letter offering him an audience with the long-missing comedian.
Like many of Auster's books, this reads a bit like a mystery, and only some of the puzzles are resolved in the end. The book is also allusive and literary, and both Zimmer and Mann (as he is slowly revealed over the course of the novel) are excellent characters
Incidentally, I thought this was Auster's latest, but he has a new book, Oracle Night, which has been getting good reviews & will be on order for Tutt Library shortly.
Tiger Link: PS3551.U77 B66 2002
- Paul Auster: the Definitive Website, while not official, does have lots of links to Auster information on the web.
- Auster did a long interview with the Paris Review in the fall of 2003, issue 167. You can read an excerpt online, or the whole interview in the printed issue on the second floor of Tutt Library.