Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book Review: Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster


Travels in the Scriptorium was first published in 2007 by Paul Auster. This fairly short novel focuses on an older gentleman by the name of Mr. Blank. He is disoriented and suffers from memory loss. He is 'trapped' in this minimalistic room with a bed, a desk, a chair and an adjacent bathroom. He has visitors that come and go throughout the day; all the characters were previous Auster characters from other works, all but Mr. Blank himself.

Penny's take: 4/5☆

This probably should not have been my first Auster book since as I mentioned, it featured some of Auster's characters from his previous works and if I knew those characters a little more intimately, I may have had a greater appreciation and/or understanding of the story as a whole. But nonetheless, I actually really enjoyed Travels in the Scriptorium. It's hard for me to pinpoint what exactly I liked about it but I'll try.
  • I won't say the story was easy to follow because you are never quite sure what is happening. Mr. Blank, as I said, has huge chunks of his memory missing. But what I liked about it was the element of trying to piece everything together with Mr. Blank as he's trying to make sense of things. Though at times, pieces of memory will come back and the reader doesn't really understand what it all means or how it fits.
  • The characters all seem to serve Mr. Blank and to what capacity, you can only guess. This is when I wished I read more of Auster's works to perhaps understand each person's motive and back story. The characters, for me, were individuals who I wasn't sure if they were genuine but they provided some intriguing conversation and actions.
  • Mr. Blank--you feel sympathetic because he seems so helpless though it seems that he at one time wielded some power and stature.
  • The end was simply delightful.
I recommend this book, perhaps after you've read a few of Auster's works first.

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