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Henry Holt and Co.
Henry Holt and Co.
On Sale: 01/23/2007
ISBN: 9781429904674160 Pages
A man pieces together clues to his past—and the identity of his captors—in this fantastic, labyrinthine novel
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 alternate world the man doesn't recognize. Nevertheless, the pages seem to have been left for him, along with a haunting set of photographs. As the day passes, various characters call on the man in his cell—vaguely familiar people, some who seem to resent him for crimes he can't remember—and each brings frustrating hints of his identity and his past. All the while an overhead camera clicks and clicks, recording his movements, and a microphone records every sound in the room. Someone is watching.
Both chilling and poignant, Travels in the Scriptorium is vintage 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.
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...
Praise for Travels in the Scriptorium
“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