The Book of Illusions

The Book of Illusions

A Novel

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
Having lost his family in a devastating plane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer journeys around the world to research the life of a presumed-dead silent film actor, and he finds his life changed forever when his subsequent writings get unexpected attention. 75,000 first printing. BOMC. QPB.

McMillan Palgrave
A man's obsession with a silent-film star sends him on a journey into a shadow world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost silent film by comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

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.

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.


Holtzbrinck
02
A man's obsession with a silent-film star sends him on a journey into a shadow world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost silent film by comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

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.

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.
A man's obsession with a silent-film star sends him on a journey into a shadow world of lies, illusions, and unexpected love

Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in an airplane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in a blur of alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a clip from a lost silent film by comedian Hector Mann. Zimmer's interest is piqued, and he soon finds himself embarking on a journey around the world to research a book on this mysterious figure, who vanished from sight in 1929 and has been presumed dead for sixty years.

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.

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.


Blackwell North Amer
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 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 Argentinian-born comic genius, with a signature white suit and fluttering black mustache, 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.

Baker
& Taylor

Having lost his family in a devastating plane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer journeys around the world to research the life of a presumed-dead silent film actor, and he finds his life changed when his subsequent writings get unexpected attention.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt, 2002
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780805054088
0805054081
Branch Call Number: Fiction Aus
Characteristics: 321 p. ; 22 cm

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Filthy_Doves
Apr 26, 2016

This book had my attention the entire time I was reading it, probably my favorite Auster novel.

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Cecilturtle
Dec 15, 2013

I must say that this novel didn't hook me as much as some of Auster's other books. While the concept was intriguing, art for art's sake, traveling through time to reconstruct art and art as salvation, none of these themes are particularly novel and I didn't find their treatment very original either. I think it was the excess that bothered me, not in Frieda's actions, but in Alma's, starting with her threat with a gun.
The read itself is enjoyable: I liked Hector's adventures, the descriptions of the desert, the makeshift studio and the movies, but I found they were an excuse for a story rather than a story in itself. For me, Hector's choices and life would have had much more impact recounted through him, rather than through two characters, who although well delineated, stayed rather mysterious.

m
macierules
Dec 05, 2009

Parts of this book were 10*, they just ate me up and totally consumed me. But, certain sections just rambled on. I have come across a new pet peeve: people making notes and highlighting sentences in a library book. I'd much rather make these discoveries on my own!

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