Travels in the Scriptorium
By Paul Auster
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312426293, 160pp.)
Publication Date: December 26, 2007
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An old man awakens, disoriented, in an unfamiliar chamber. With no memory of who he is or how he has arrived there, he pores over the relics on the desk, examining the circumstances of his confinement and searching his own hazy mind for clues.
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.
Paul Auster is the bestselling author of The Brooklyn Follies, Oracle Night, and The Book of Illusions, among many other works. I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project Anthology, which he edited, was also a national bestseller. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"Archly playful and shrewdly philosophical . . . Celebrates the power of the imagination . . . The labyrinthine nature of the mind…[A] tribute to the transcendence of stories."--Donna Seaman, Booklist
"This brief work radiates in so many directions . . . that there must be involved in it some sort of magic or wizardry."--Rain Taxi
"Auster has an enormous talent for creating worlds that are both fantastic and believable. . . . His novels are uniformly difficult to put down, a testament to his storytelling gifts."--Timothy Peters, San Francisco Chronicle
"Auster is one of our most intellectually elegant writers. . . . Themes are hungry ghosts, Borges said. Fortunately, Auster’s ghosts are insatiable."--Howard Norman, The Washington Post Book World
"One of America’s greats . . . The writing is a tight as ever."--Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org