Day/Night Travels in the Scriptorium and Man in the Dark

Paul Auster




Trade Paperback

336 Pages



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Day/Night brings together two metaphysical novels that mirror each other and are meant to be read in tandem: two men, each confined to a room, one suddenly alert to his existence, the other desperate to escape into sleep.

In Travels in the Scriptorium, elderly Mr. Blank wakes in an unfamiliar cell, with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He must use the few objects he finds and the information imparted by the day’s string of visitors to cobble together an idea of his identity. In Man in the Dark, another old man, August Brill, suffering from insomnia, struggles to push away thoughts of painful personal losses by imagining what might have been.

Who are we? What is real and not real? How does the political intersect with the personal? After great loss, why are some of us unable to go on? Auster explores in these two small masterpieces some of our most pressing philosophical concerns.


Praise for Day/Night

Praise for Travels in the Scriptorium

“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 

"This is a chilling story of isolation . . . All of this refracting inventiveness is why Auster is often referred to as a master of the metaphysical detective story . . . The reader is kept on edge, guessing until the very end." —The Washington Post

"The writing is as tight as ever." —Jonathan Messinger, Time Out (Chicago)

"This brief work radiates in so many directions . . . that there must be involved in it some sort of magic or wizardry." —Rain Taxi

“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 

"Auster's lean, poker-faced prose creates a satisfyingly claustrophobic allegory."—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Man in the Dark

“Tenderness yoked to violence, literary experiment without irony—Paul Auster has outdone himself.”—John Brenkman, The Village Voice

“A novel that kept my attention from the first page all the way to the last. Frankly, it hypnotized me.”—Alan Cheuse, NPR’s All Things Considered

"An undoubted pleasure to read."—Michael Dirda, The New York Review of Books

"The narrative juxtapositions and the riddling starkness of Auster's prose create an absorbing . . . effect, breathing life into a meditation on the difference between the stories we want to tell and the stories we end up telling." —The New Yorker

"Works beautifully . . . This is perhaps Auster's best book. Like Vonnegut's classic antiwar novel [Slaughterhouse Five], Auster's book leaves one with a depth of feeling much larger than might be expected from such a small and concise work of art."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Man in the Dark is at once haunting, thought-provoking, emotional, and compellingly readable." —The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Remarkable . . . Man in the Dark possesses a grand and generous heart."—The Boston Globe

"[Auster's] magic has never flourished more fully than it does in Man in the Dark . . . The novel delivers intense reading pleasure from start to finish."—The Orlando Sentinel

"Provoking and entertaining in brilliant fashion . . . [Auster] draws you into a literary maze and sets you marveling at how he will get you out." —The Seattle Times

"Intricately layered, playful with the notions of 'real' and 'unreal' . . . Man in the Dark is the work of a master, confident of his powers to move readers smoothly between worlds, totally in control of setting, pace, and dialogue . . . A deep, fraught book."—Daily Kos

"Auster has crafted a stirring, politically charged portrait of the power of fiction." —The Newark Star-Ledger

"Auster's latest astute and mesmerizing metaphysical fiction master of the matter-of-factly fantastic, Auster tells an utterly authentic story of culpability and survival, the vortex of loss, and our endless struggle to translate terror into understanding." —Booklist (starred review)

"Another wild fictive device that demolishes the walls separating author, character, and reader, leading to that familiar through-the-looking-glass feeling . . . The man is a magician." —Jeff Turrentine, The Washington Post

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

for Lloyd Hustvedt
(in memory)
The old man sits on the edge of the narrow bed, palms spread out on his knees, head down, staring at the floor. He has no idea that a camera is planted in the ceiling directly above him. The shutter clicks silently once every second, producing eighty-six thousand four hundred still photos with each revolution of the earth. Even if he knew he was being watched, it wouldn’t make any difference. His mind is elsewhere, stranded among the figments in his head as he searches for an answer to the question that
Read the full excerpt


  • Paul Auster

  • Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Sunset Park, Invisible, Man in the Dark, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. His books have been translated into forty-three languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Paul Auster Lisbeth Salas Soto
    Paul Auster