Auster
2004 Shortlist

The Book of Illusions

ABOUT
THE BOOK

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost film by the silent comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer’s interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to study the works of this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929.
Who was Hector Mann? An Argentinean-born comic genius, with a signature white suit and fluttering black moustache, a master of “backpedals and dodges…sudden torques and lunging pavanes…double takes and hop-steps and rhumba swivels.” Presumed dead for sixty years, he had flashed briefly across American movie screens, tantalizing the public with the promise of a brilliant future, and then, just as the silent era came to an end, he walked out of his house one January morning and was never heard from again.
Zimmer’s research leads him to write the first full-length study of Hector’s films. When the book is published the following year, a letter turns up in Zimmer’s mailbox bearing a return address from a small town in New Mexico – supposedly written by Hector’s wife. “Hector has read your book and would like to meet you. Are you interested in paying us a visit?” Is the letter a hoax, or is Hector Mann still alive? Torn between doubt and belief, Zimmer hesitates, until one night a strange woman appears on his doorstep and makes the decision for him, changing his life forever.
Written with breathtaking urgency and precision, this stunning novel plunges the reader into a universe in which the comic and the tragic, the real and the imagined, the violent and the tender dissolve into one another. With The Book of Illusions, one of America’s most powerful and original writers has written his richest, most emotionally charged work yet.

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR Paul
Auster

Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions and The New York Trilogy, among many other works.

In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Médicis Étranger for Leviathan. He has also been shortlisted for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than forty languages.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions and The New York Trilogy, among many other works.

In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Médicis Étranger for Leviathan. He has also been shortlisted for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than forty languages.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Date published
04/09/2002
Country
United States
Original Language
English
Author
Publisher
Henry Holt and Company

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