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ORACLE NIGHT

Auster, Paul

11,100 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0571216986 / ISBN 13: 9780571216987
Published by London, Faber & Faber,, 2004
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From 23rd Lane Books (Palm Beach Gardens, FL, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First British Edition, First Printing, SIGNED BY PAUL AUSTER on the title page, Abebooks used the wrong photo for this listing. Bookseller Inventory # F140

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Bibliographic Details

Title: ORACLE NIGHT

Publisher: London, Faber & Faber,

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Several months into his recovery from a near-fatal illness, thirty-four-year-old novelist Sidney Orr enters a stationery shop in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn and buys a blue notebook. It is September 18, 1982, and for the next nine days Orr will live under the spell of this blank book, trapped inside a world of eerie premonitions and bewildering events that threaten to destroy his marriage and undermine his faith in reality . . .

Review:

In Oracle Night, Paul Auster returns to one of his favorite themes: writing about writers and the act of writing. Recovering from a severe illness that has left him weak and prone to nosebleeds, struggling novelist Sidney Orr takes the suggestion of his mentor, the acclaimed novelist John Trause, and begins a story about a man who, upon considering a near-death experience as an omen (or excuse), walks out on his wife and begins a new life. Nick Bowen, Orr's protagonist, moves to Kansas City and finds work with a man engaged in creating a sort of catalogue of all known persons from a warehouse filled with phonebooks. Dressed in Goodwill clothing, Nick finds it "fitting to don the wardrobe of a man who has likewise ceased to exist--as if that double negation made the erasure of his past more thorough, more permanent." Grace, however, acts strangely soon after Sidney begins the "novel-within-a-novel" in a mysterious blue notebook.

Auster uses footnotes to provide interesting backstory and develops Sidney's insecurities regarding love and fidelity, but when Sidney hits a patchy spot and writes Bowen into a corner, he (and Auster) shrugs and drops the story. The mystery that seemingly unrelated coincidences may have a causal connection is left unresolved, and Trause's delinquent son shows up to facilitate a hollow, climactic ending. Auster is a gifted writer, to be sure, but once trapped by the inner story, Oracle Night loses steam. --Michael Ferch

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