Travels in the Scriptorium by

The old man sits on the edge of the narrow bed, palms spread out on his knees, head down, staring at the floor.
–Paul Auster - Travels in the Scriptorium - c. 2006 - pg.1

ISBN: 9780312426293

Carl was kind enough to send me this book; one of the prizes from his Once Upon A Time reading challenge draws. And while it was the cool cover design that first attracted my attention it was the writing that meant I finished it in less than 3 hours.

To be totally honest I’m still a little ambivalent over the storyline itself. It is a day in the life of our nameless protagonist. Well, he is given a name, Mr. Blank, but we know that isn’t his real name. At first he appears to just be a confused old man, possibly suffering from Alzheimer’s or some similar illness, but as we read on we discover that there is more than that to Mr. Blank and his past.

As I said, I’m ambivalent over this novel. On the one hand I really enjoyed the writing and the descriptions. On the other it was almost predictable in its ending. Well, predictable is overly harsh, but you know what I mean.

Writing this I think I’m going to come down on the “I liked it” side. It isn’t going to join my favourites list. But I think it makes for an interesting read; besides it is quite short so it doesn’t feel like an unrewarded waste of time. At times it is a little cold. But what else can you expect in a book that details only one day in the life of an unknown individual?

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2 Responses

  1. Carl V. says:

    It was somewhat predictable at the end and yet I didn't think he was necessarily trying to hide that fact from the reader. I think the story was more about watching the protagonist realize it vs. surprising the reader with the revelations. If it hadn't been such a quick read I might not have been as enamored with it, but as it was I really did enjoy it and his writing style certainly made me a fan. I liked New York Trilogy much better even though Auster is a little like Murakami in that all does not necessarily get tied up in a neat little bow in the end of his stories.

  2. Fence says:

    yeah, the style and the writing are what I enjoyed. And I agree with your comment about Murakami, I think when you finish either of their books you're left with the same sort of hmmm. Although in a good way :)