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Invisible PDF, ePub eBook “One of America’s greatest novelists” dazzlingly reinvents the coming-of-age story in his most passionate and surprising book to date Sinuously constructed in four interlocking parts, Paul Auster’s fifteenth novel opens in New York City in the spring of 1967, when twenty-year-old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet and student at Columbia University, meets the enigmatic Frenchman “One of America’s greatest novelists” dazzlingly reinvents the coming-of-age story in his most passionate and surprising book to date Sinuously constructed in four interlocking parts, Paul Auster’s fifteenth novel opens in New York City in the spring of 1967, when twenty-year-old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet and student at Columbia University, meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born and his silent and seductive girfriend, Margot. Before long, Walker finds himself caught in a perverse triangle that leads to a sudden, shocking act of violence that will alter the course of his life. Three different narrators tell the story of Invisible, a novel that travels in time from 1967 to 2007 and moves from Morningside Heights, to the Left Bank of Paris, to a remote island in the Caribbean. It is a book of youthful rage, unbridled sexual hunger, and a relentless quest for justice. With uncompromising insight, Auster takes us into the shadowy borderland between truth and memory, between authorship and identity, to produce a work of unforgettable power that confirms his reputation as “one of America’s most spectacularly inventive writers.” 

30 review for Invisible

  1. 4 out of 5

    Annet

    I shook his hand for the first time in the spring of 1967. I was a second-year student at Columbia then, a know-nothing boy with an appetite for books and a belief (or delusion) that one day I would become good enough to call myself a poet,... I love Paul Auster, there's no way around it. I am always intrigued, fascinated and sometimes completely in the dark but he is such a great writer for me. Have read several of his books and fortunately I have some more to go, but this one, again, a gem. Dar I shook his hand for the first time in the spring of 1967. I was a second-year student at Columbia then, a know-nothing boy with an appetite for books and a belief (or delusion) that one day I would become good enough to call myself a poet,... I love Paul Auster, there's no way around it. I am always intrigued, fascinated and sometimes completely in the dark but he is such a great writer for me. Have read several of his books and fortunately I have some more to go, but this one, again, a gem. Dark, intriguing, what's going on, how is this going to end....beautiful writing... Yes, the end is a bit weird but for me, somehow it fitted perfectly in the storyline. Auster does not give any answers, sometimes it is hard to follow a storyline, but this book was easily readible for me. His stories can be hard to read sometimes, but this one was quite a smooth story as I see it. Three persons in the book tell their part and view of the story. Outstanding. Therefore again, 5 stars. More to follow as usual. This is the story outline: Twenty-year old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet, is studying in New York City when he meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born, and his silent and seductive girlfriend Margot. Before long, Walker finds himself caught in a love triangle that leads to a sudden, shocking act of violence that will alter the course of his life....

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shovelmonkey1

    If you like to read a book with a nice story that makes sense and has a moral/point/definitive ending then you will not want to be friends with Paul Auster. Put the book down, that's it...gently..., now off you go and find something else to read. If on the other hand you can't be dissuaded and carry on reading this the first thing to know is that you should probably disregard the blurb on the back - it only applies to the first 72 pages of the book. Maybe the person who wrote the blurb only got t If you like to read a book with a nice story that makes sense and has a moral/point/definitive ending then you will not want to be friends with Paul Auster. Put the book down, that's it...gently..., now off you go and find something else to read. If on the other hand you can't be dissuaded and carry on reading this the first thing to know is that you should probably disregard the blurb on the back - it only applies to the first 72 pages of the book. Maybe the person who wrote the blurb only got that far? Who knows. Now all of this probably sounds like it's gearing up to becoming the damning voice of someone who didn't like this book. Actually, I did like this book but again I'm never sure why I like Auster books. They have that appealing shiny-ness, that makes me go "oooh" then put my hands out to touch it even though I know I shouldn't,much like someone giving you a plate of mercury to play with. But behind the shiny is a matted world of weird, part of which, once again is loosely based on Austers own youth (wistful yearnings to be a writer, time in Paris translating poetry). How much of it is based on Austers on youth I don't know and can't be arsed to find out but right now I'm really hoping he doesn't have a sister. Although I'll say no more on that subject otherwise I'll start turning this review into one big spoiler. This book is really three stories tucked up together in between one cover and none of them really draw any satisfactory conclusions, except maybe that as you go through life you will meet a lot of people who are f*cked in the head and some of them might be French.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Helene Jeppesen

    100 out of 5 stars!! One of my favourite books by Paul Auster <3

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Invisible, Paul Auster Invisible is a novel by Paul Auster published in 2009 by Henry Holt and Company. The book is divided into four parts, telling a continuous story, but each section told in a different voice, and by several different authors. The first section, titled "Spring" and told in first person. The second section, "Summer" describes the events in Adam's life later that summer in New York sharing an apartment with his older sister, Gwyn. This section of the story is told in second per Invisible, Paul Auster Invisible is a novel by Paul Auster published in 2009 by Henry Holt and Company. The book is divided into four parts, telling a continuous story, but each section told in a different voice, and by several different authors. The first section, titled "Spring" and told in first person. The second section, "Summer" describes the events in Adam's life later that summer in New York sharing an apartment with his older sister, Gwyn. This section of the story is told in second person. In the third section, "Fall" we learn that Adam, in 2007, has died before he and James could meet, and has completed only notes of the third and final section of his memoir of 1967. The final section takes place in 2007. James has been told by Gwyn that the major events of the second section of the book are entirely made-up, and James wonders whether any of the purported memoir is true. In searching for corroboration, James tracks down Cécile, now a distinguished literary scholar. She concludes the story by describing in her diary how she, in 2007, has a final strange contact with Rudolf Born, at his remote island home in the Caribbean. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوازدهم ماه دسامبر سال 2009 میلادی عنوان: ناپیدا؛ نویسنده: پل آستر (اوستر)؛ مترجم: خجسته کیهان؛ تهران، افق، 1388؛ در 268 ص؛ شابک: 9789643696146؛ چاپ دوم 1389؛ چاپ سوم 1391؛ چاپ دیگر: 1393؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 21 م ادبیات معمایی، و کاویدن زندگی فردی رو به زوال است. نقل از متن: «چاقو از ضامنش بیرون آمد، پسر که چاقو شکمش را میدرید، ناله کرد. گفت: چرا میزنی؟ هفت تیرم که گلوله ندارد». پایان نقل از متن. «ناپيدا» نخستین اثر «آستر» نویسنده ی رمانهای سه گانه نیویوک در سبک «پست مدرن» است، كه نشر افق، با ترجمه ی بانو «خجسته کیهان»، همزمان با انتشار جهانی اثر، آنرا منتشر كرده است. نويسنده، در اين رمان نيز، داستانهايی تودرتو، میآفریند، كه گاه به ادبيات معمايی شباهت دارند. «آستر» با كاويدن زندگی رو به زوال «آدام واكر»، پردازش شخصيت منفی را به اوج میرساند. ا. شربیانی

  5. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    This is what fiction should be, in my opinion. Absolutely dazzling, believable yet at times shocking, intellectual without being predictable or dry, compulsively readable but never inane, and above all, completely effortless. Invisible addresses three seasons in the life of a young man, Adam Walker. In 1967, Adam - a university student and wannabe poet - meets a French professor, Rudolf Born, at a party. What follows is a strange series of events culminating in two main outcomes: the first is Ada This is what fiction should be, in my opinion. Absolutely dazzling, believable yet at times shocking, intellectual without being predictable or dry, compulsively readable but never inane, and above all, completely effortless. Invisible addresses three seasons in the life of a young man, Adam Walker. In 1967, Adam - a university student and wannabe poet - meets a French professor, Rudolf Born, at a party. What follows is a strange series of events culminating in two main outcomes: the first is Adam's brief affair with Born's girlfriend, Margot, and the second is a random act of violence, committed by Born, which Adam is witness to. All of this takes place within the first seventy pages, with the rest of the book devoted to the effect of these events on Adam's life immediately afterwards, and their resonance in later years. All the usual themes of literary fiction are intact - memory, truth, loss, regret - but they aren't rendered in that self-consciously clever style I've grown so sick of over the past year. Predominantly, this is a story about obsession and sex: Adam is obsessed with exacting revenge on Born, as well as sexually obsessed with Margot, and later with another woman (whose identity I won't reveal here as it would give away a major - and very surprising - plot point). The perspective shifts: Invisible begins as a first-person account told by Adam himself, and at first, I expected the whole story to be told this way - but this being Auster, I should have known better than to expect a straightforward, linear narrative. In Part II, we jump forward to 2007, when Jim Freeman, a former acquaintance who hasn't spoken to Adam in almost forty years, receives a letter from his old friend with a partial manuscript - the first chapter of a possible book, titled 'Spring', which formed the first part of the story. The second chapter, 'Summer', is also told by Adam, but being far more personal and painful for him to recount, it is related in second person, placing the reader at the centre of an intimate and somewhat disturbing tale. In Part III, with Adam's health deteriorating, Jim is compelled to assemble chapter three, 'Fall', from a series of brief notes, and finally, he seeks out some of the others involved in the story to satisfy his own curiosity about both Adam's honesty and the after-effects of the events he has described. I want to say this is where things really get interesting - as the resulting accounts cast doubt on the truth of both Adam's story and Jim's interpretation - but that would make it sound like the book isn't riveting from the very first page, and it really is. I know Auster is an acquired taste - some of my Goodreads friends have given this book lukewarm reviews, and if you want a nice neat ending where everything's resolved and the truth is made clear, you won't find it here. But I am someone who generally likes the author's work, and this was by far the best of the Auster books I've read so far. I found it enormously compelling, beautifully written (it flows like a dream) and genuinely discomfiting. It lacks the obvious avant-garde tone of (for example) The New York Trilogy, but retains a certain sense of oddness that's enough to give it a sharp edge. Altogether wonderful.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    A reader writes a book and a writer reads this book… That is what Invisible approximately comes up to on the side of the plot… Put something in the wrong place, and even though it is still there – quite possibly smack under your nose – it can vanish for the rest of time. Invisible is a novel of moral anxiety, of moral qualms and of moral ambiguity. Who is really a villain and who is really a do-gooder? How much of the surrounding world remains invisible to us? How much of the other people’s life i A reader writes a book and a writer reads this book… That is what Invisible approximately comes up to on the side of the plot… Put something in the wrong place, and even though it is still there – quite possibly smack under your nose – it can vanish for the rest of time. Invisible is a novel of moral anxiety, of moral qualms and of moral ambiguity. Who is really a villain and who is really a do-gooder? How much of the surrounding world remains invisible to us? How much of the other people’s life is invisible too? And in the end the novel turns into a profound and ironical contemplation on the nature of truth and deception. “And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 1:17 How much of the world we see is truth and how much of it is lie?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    My favorite Paul Auster novel so far. But if you've read "Oracle Night", "New York Trilogy", "Book of Illusions", then you've totally read "Invisible." The brand is unique*, but the plotless-ness can become quite disconcerting. I THOROUGHLY dug this one, reading it all in a day. * "Timbuktu" is the only one of his that's not "meta." Just really really sad.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Max

    This is by far the worst book I've read in 2010. I couldnt even finish it; the thought of having to read another 100 pages of drivel led me to thumb through the last pages, only to realize I wasn't missing anything. How an author that wrote great novels such as The Book of Illusions or Man in The Dark can produce a book that contains no believable characters, no real story and only superficial and empty phrases is a mystery to me. The main character is a spineless loser, whose greatest accomplish This is by far the worst book I've read in 2010. I couldnt even finish it; the thought of having to read another 100 pages of drivel led me to thumb through the last pages, only to realize I wasn't missing anything. How an author that wrote great novels such as The Book of Illusions or Man in The Dark can produce a book that contains no believable characters, no real story and only superficial and empty phrases is a mystery to me. The main character is a spineless loser, whose greatest accomplishment is 3 weeks of sex with a lacklustre French woman that just got dumped. His moral compass is stuck on 'thou shall not kill', and because he's got no imagination or anything else to show for, his biggest accomplishment is deciding to ruin the killer's life by convincing the killer's fiancee that the killer is a bad man. What an awful revenge. I don't care if he succeeded - if he did, it would be utterly unbelievable. To add insult to injury, we also have a former classmate, who never saw our spineless zero in 40 years, but suddenly becomes fantastically interested in him - so much that he even considers his sexual exploits with his sister perfectly normal. This classmate is famous for his literary work, however in this book he decides to write like a first grader writing love letters to Lady Gaga. If Auster tried to shock me, he failed. If he tried to bore me, he succeeded. Man, that second part of the book was like a 24hr B&B marathon. This book was so bad I even threw it away - I couldn't stand the thought of spoiling anyone else's brain with such useless writing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin*

    To say I liked this book, or even enjoyed it, would be saying too much. But I thought it was good, which is why I'm giving it four stars. It was good, even though I found nothing and no one within the pages likable or sympathetic. Actually, a lot of it was disturbing. Thinking a book is good while at the same time disliking it is not an experience I've had often, if ever. I have no desire ever to revisit this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tosh

    I think a lot of people have given up on Auster, after his series of novels in the 21st Century. But "Invisible," his new one is a winner. He's a guy who keeps on working, no matter what, so you have to appreciate his work habits - but to me as a reader and once fan, well.. his novels became a boring horror show. And just as I was about to heap him to junk history, his new novel arrives and it's an incredible narrative ride. I think Auster's technique or secret is that he is very much a page-turn I think a lot of people have given up on Auster, after his series of novels in the 21st Century. But "Invisible," his new one is a winner. He's a guy who keeps on working, no matter what, so you have to appreciate his work habits - but to me as a reader and once fan, well.. his novels became a boring horror show. And just as I was about to heap him to junk history, his new novel arrives and it's an incredible narrative ride. I think Auster's technique or secret is that he is very much a page-turner type of author. Almost summer reading on the beach or airplane/terminal type of writer - but smarter and more ambitious. Two, he writes in a very intimate manner. Almost like pulling you away from a l loud party gathering and telling you a secret or some really great gossip. And with that, Auster is back on what he does best, entertains. Very sexy, intimate, and interesting characters are in this book. It also deals with what one thinks of the romantic life of a writer or being a writer. And while reading this novel, I was thinking 'wow, I missed him." So yeah a really good novel by Auster that matches up with his earlier work from the 80's. I think he got his inspiration or muse or whatever one calls it back, and it shows in "Invisible."

  11. 4 out of 5

    Allie Riley

    1967 was a pivotal year for Adam Walker, for it was then, when he was a twenty-year-old student in New York, that he met the enigmatic Rudolph Bern and his then partner Margot at a party. Following the party he is witness to a murder and the consequences of that ripple throughout the novel. Combined with incest and intrigue these events keep you gripped to the very end. Nothing is quite as it seems and, even now, I am not entirely sure of the exact truth. With regard to style, there are, effecti 1967 was a pivotal year for Adam Walker, for it was then, when he was a twenty-year-old student in New York, that he met the enigmatic Rudolph Bern and his then partner Margot at a party. Following the party he is witness to a murder and the consequences of that ripple throughout the novel. Combined with incest and intrigue these events keep you gripped to the very end. Nothing is quite as it seems and, even now, I am not entirely sure of the exact truth. With regard to style, there are, effectively, three narrators, part II is in the second person and inverted commas are not used (something which usually annoys me). The characters felt extremely life-like and were well drawn. Although I have not met anyone like these people (and, frankly in some cases, I sincerely hope I never do) they were eminently believable. His writing is superb - just enough description to imagine yourself there - and the book is very tightly plotted indeed. This was my first foray into Auster's work. It will by no means be my last. Recommended.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    This book caught my interest from page 1. It tells the tale of Adam, who stumbles into a friendship with some very odd people, Margot, and her lover, Born. The tale told is one that is captivating and intriguing. There is some definite ambiguity, and the reader is left wondering how much of Adam's tale is fiction or reality. I would highly recommend this book. The only problem that could annoy a reader is the change from first to second to third person narrative, but I quickly adapted to this

  13. 4 out of 5

    Miquel Reina

    Invisible was the first book I read from Paul Auster and since then I think that the famous American author is one of the best writers of our time. Invisible is an intelligent and extremely well-written novel, Auster is a magician of words and twists. However, I have to say that although I liked the novel, I thought that the ending would be much more powerful. Spanish version: Invisible fue el primer libro que leí de paul Auster y desde entonces creo que el autor americano es uno de los mejores Invisible was the first book I read from Paul Auster and since then I think that the famous American author is one of the best writers of our time. Invisible is an intelligent and extremely well-written novel, Auster is a magician of words and twists. However, I have to say that although I liked the novel, I thought that the ending would be much more powerful. Spanish version: Invisible fue el primer libro que leí de paul Auster y desde entonces creo que el autor americano es uno de los mejores escritores de nuestro tiempo. Invisible es una novela inteligente y Auster un mago de las palabras y de los giros inesperados. Aún así, tengo que decir que aunque me haya gustado mucho la novela creía que el final sería mucho más potente.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris Dietzel

    The first part of this book seemed uninspired, and I got the impression that this might be the first of Auster's books I didn't enjoy. But by Part 2 it had my attention and parts 3 and 4 were as good as the author's other books. An odd aside: Auster's titles are usually very obvious in their meaning to the story. However, I still don't know why this one was titled "Invisible."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    My feelings are conflicted with this book. I didn't hate it. I got through the book in 4 days, not rushing, and found Auster's style of writing still as compelling and easy to read as ever. On the other hand the story, while readable and familiar, just wasn't as compelling as I think Auster must have thought it was and neither was the bad guy nearly as menacing or complex. Paul Auster is a literary writer and is a highly respected, bestselling writer of post modern stories. Yet despite this he c My feelings are conflicted with this book. I didn't hate it. I got through the book in 4 days, not rushing, and found Auster's style of writing still as compelling and easy to read as ever. On the other hand the story, while readable and familiar, just wasn't as compelling as I think Auster must have thought it was and neither was the bad guy nearly as menacing or complex. Paul Auster is a literary writer and is a highly respected, bestselling writer of post modern stories. Yet despite this he can write a book that reads as fluidly as a thriller mostly because he is a master of pacing and knows precisely how to draw the reader in and when to step up the action. He showcases various styles in the four parts the book is divided in - the first person, the second person, the third person narrative styles are all used and served to highlight how talented the man is as well as to keep the story fresh for the reader (events are rehashed throughout). Yet the central point of the story - I won't give it away but it comes at the end of Part 1 - just seemed contrived. And if you think about the circumstances, it wasn't that shocking. It serves to show a different side to the bad guy who until then seemed to be a foppish poseur. The Auster trademarks are here: the bookish hero (trying to be a poet, talking about obscure poets and writers, working in a library), the mysterious benefactor, a dead family member/friend, and a manuscript. Familiar ground then, and yet despite Auster having written similar stories in this fashion many times before I was still compelled to read on. The story never really goes anywhere though. The bookish hero is haunted by the events at the end of Part 1, Part 2 reveals a sordid past to the hero, Part 3 continues the haunted hero's recounting of the events at the end of Part 1 and a showdown with the bad guy, Part 4 throws a few twists in and ends on a mysterious metaphor. It's frustrating because I can't go into much detail without ruining the story but the story never really feels as dramatic as it thinks it is, nor as powerful in it's examination of some of the complex relationships in the book. By the end I didn't care and the last 30 pages dragged a bit. The final twist merited a simple shrug from me as I wasn't concerned with any of the characters at that point. As for the title "Invisible", well, book groups can talk about what it means, I'll hazard a guess and say it might describe the real lives we lead and the lives we wished we'd led - the real life and the invisible life. But again, I didn't think about it too much, this isn't that sort of book. It's not Auster's best but if you're a big fan of his like me you'll read it and find things to like about it. Overall though it's quite underwhelming and strangely forgettable. Still, it's not his worst and is an entertaining enough read. Glad he left himself out of this one though. Or did he...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bookmarks Magazine

    Invisible contains many of the hallmarks of Auster's trade: formal literary devices and stylistic high jinks, psychological depth, elegant prose, and the manipulation of information, voices, and stories. Told against the background of 40 years of history, with shame and colonial guilt ever present, Invisible feels "warmer and more human than the stuff he's famous for" (San Francisco Chronicle) as well as less contrived and more hopeful. Indeed, notes the New York Times Book Review, it's "a love Invisible contains many of the hallmarks of Auster's trade: formal literary devices and stylistic high jinks, psychological depth, elegant prose, and the manipulation of information, voices, and stories. Told against the background of 40 years of history, with shame and colonial guilt ever present, Invisible feels "warmer and more human than the stuff he's famous for" (San Francisco Chronicle) as well as less contrived and more hopeful. Indeed, notes the New York Times Book Review, it's "a love story, or a series of intertwined love stories," with Walker at the core. A few critics thought that Auster's technique overwhelms the story, and one thought the characters uninteresting. But most agreed that Invisible is Auster's finest—and perhaps most accessible—novel to date. This is an excerpt of a review published in Bookmarks magazine.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janet Tomasson

    This is the first time I've read Paul Auster's book. I had just finished it, and the urge to read the rest of his books was burning in me now.   Fascinating, sweeping, smart, setting a high bar that will include great literary conventions that give almost historic value to the level of writing that the word 'impressive' may insult.   Auster merges some characters and sets up a thought-provoking discussion of their moral twists and turns. The book intersperses a human mosaic.   Exciting and painful, This is the first time I've read Paul Auster's book. I had just finished it, and the urge to read the rest of his books was burning in me now.   Fascinating, sweeping, smart, setting a high bar that will include great literary conventions that give almost historic value to the level of writing that the word 'impressive' may insult.   Auster merges some characters and sets up a thought-provoking discussion of their moral twists and turns. The book intersperses a human mosaic.   Exciting and painful, sensational and blunt, vulgar and breathtaking.   The ending may be too random and detached, but the reader opens a warm and pleasant place to thoughts that slowly sewn up as soon as the book closes and goes to spend on the shelf with his colleagues. Great book !!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Franziska

    It was the perfect book for a lazy sunday. Doing nothing but reading and drinking coffee. I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one sitting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gladia

    Spring: New York: Walker meets Born at a party and the professor, just a few days later and for no good reason, offers to give money to the young student to make a literary magazine. Their professional partnership soon dies when Born stabs to death a boy who's trying to rob him and Walker. The story is weak since the very beginning and lacks of imagination to explain most of the events. Walker is depicted as a reasonable character but Born, an opinionated on everything French professor who seems t Spring: New York: Walker meets Born at a party and the professor, just a few days later and for no good reason, offers to give money to the young student to make a literary magazine. Their professional partnership soon dies when Born stabs to death a boy who's trying to rob him and Walker. The story is weak since the very beginning and lacks of imagination to explain most of the events. Walker is depicted as a reasonable character but Born, an opinionated on everything French professor who seems to have connections with some secret governmental agency, is remarkably annoying. Summer: Still New York: the incestuous relationship between Walker and his sister. For sure that's the best part of the novel. Emotional, touching, full of pathos, truthful and free of prejudices of any kind. I was almost disappointed by the fact that, later in the novel, Gwyn, Walker's sister denies the truth of the affair, but that doesn't change the fact that 'summer' is the what gives power to the whole book and it's a shame it's so short. (To be noticed: no Born appearances in summer) Fall: Paris: Walker enrolls in the student abroad program and moves to the French capital, shortly meets Born and their conflict, ceased for that summer, starts again, together with the fall down of the quality of the story. Walker tries to ruin Born's soon to happen marriage but gets kicked out of the country with a month (mysterious powerful forces connected to Born). Ending: 'Fall' wasn't good but the end is very bad. We read parts of the diary of the daughter of Born's supposedly future wife. That's the worst part of the novel and Born comes back to dominate the story. Overall this was a weak novel. 'Summer' is the part that makes the novel worth to be read, but the rest is disappointing. Auster is a story teller and 'Invisible' is marked all over with his typical style but the end result failed my expectations.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    Although I try to read a lot of different books by different authors, I certainly have a group of favorites. If I see a new book by one of these writers (if I haven't been tracking them on Amazon), I will immediately by it when I see it. Paul Auster is one of those. The minute I saw his new book, Invisible, I nearly leapt on it (I'm crazy like that) and, of course, bought it. Invisible is a well-written, intriguing and odd book. It starts in 1967 at Columbia University. Adam Walker is a college Although I try to read a lot of different books by different authors, I certainly have a group of favorites. If I see a new book by one of these writers (if I haven't been tracking them on Amazon), I will immediately by it when I see it. Paul Auster is one of those. The minute I saw his new book, Invisible, I nearly leapt on it (I'm crazy like that) and, of course, bought it. Invisible is a well-written, intriguing and odd book. It starts in 1967 at Columbia University. Adam Walker is a college student dreaming of life as a poet when he encounters Rudolf Born and his girlfriend, Margot, at a party. Rudolf and Margot immediately intrigue young Adam with their worldliness, and the couple becomes somewhat intrigued by him as well. What happens shortly thereafter is a shocking act of violence that has ramifications for the rest of the book. And that's where everything gets a little bit hinky. The book is divided into four sections. The first is narrated by Adam himself, the second and third sections are narrated by a college friend of Adam's (through Adam's words) and the fourth is narrated by another character and almost feels tacked on. There are a lot of big issues in this book--murder, incest, voyeurism, emotional anguish--yet not a lot of it resonates. I loved the story Auster was telling even as I felt uncomfortable reading pieces of it, but ultimately I was left somewhat unfulfilled. I guess I'll hope his next one has a bit more for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jim Coughenour

    One rainy spring night back in 1987, I wandered into Guild Bookstore (Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, extinct) and was beguiled by a sexy set of hardbacks – The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster – an author I'd never heard of. Guild was known more for its selection of esoteric lectures by Noam Chomksy than for modernist fiction; this set, published by Sun & Moon Press, looked like something I'd expect to find at the Art Institute. The books had a cool stylish look (including the author photo); the pr One rainy spring night back in 1987, I wandered into Guild Bookstore (Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, extinct) and was beguiled by a sexy set of hardbacks – The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster – an author I'd never heard of. Guild was known more for its selection of esoteric lectures by Noam Chomksy than for modernist fiction; this set, published by Sun & Moon Press, looked like something I'd expect to find at the Art Institute. The books had a cool stylish look (including the author photo); the prose was set in a smart Bodini. I bought them for their dust jackets alone – which for me captured the romance of my recent wide-eyed visits to Manhattan, with its Bright Lights, Big City/Liquid Sky appeal. So I was delighted when I discovered the stories were as aesthetically satisfying as desaturated cityscapes on their covers. The trilogy offered an artfully convoluted set of variations on the classic urban detective story, Dashiell Hammett filtered through Beckett (and I'm undoubtedly echoing a cliché here) – but back then this opus seemed just about perfect: pure style in the guise of existentially-tortured substance. Regrettably, the experience wasn't easy to duplicate. Over the years I'd pick up each Auster book as it appeared; few provided the same thrill. From the distance of 20-odd years I observe that I've found more pleasure in his autobiographical essays (and the peculiar mini-classic The Red Notebook) than in his novels. In recent years, I enjoyed Oracle Night and The Book of Illusions; I cheerfully succumbed to the crowd-pleasing Brooklyn Follies; but I found Man in the Dark and Travels in the Scriptorium impossible to finish. (The objective correlative for that last one is the smell of old man's urine.) A couple weeks ago I read Auster's newest – Invisible – and fortunately had finished it before I read the evisceration by James Woods in this week's New Yorker. Woods begins his review with a précis of a mock-Auster novel and it's cruelly exact. It may even be fair. But I doubt it will affect my proclivity for Auster, however abused it's become. As I read Invisible, I felt as if I was watching an old friend perform his usual set of magic tricks. The plot unfolds in a set of familiar games, elliptical exercises on first-, second- and third-person narration, found manuscripts and unnerving coincidences, served up with usual tenor of agonized introspection. The plot, such as it is, completely collapses by the end. But no matter. The book is entertaining, even in its clichés. Auster may not be the transgressive modernist he affects to be (if indeed he does) but I still relish the ominous play of character and coincidence, as predictable as a ghost story, best read before bed with a dram of single malt.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    So...... This is the first book I've ever read by Paul Auster, and I must say, I was very impressed by this thrilling, disturbing and kinda weird book. His grasp of the narrative was absolute throughout, no small feat considering the extreme meta-literary gymnastics he puts the reader through. I enjoyed the unfolding mysteries, the multiple (and often (or maybe not) unreliable) narrators, the jumps forwards and backwards in time, and the globe-spanning locales. I guess I only knocked one star off So...... This is the first book I've ever read by Paul Auster, and I must say, I was very impressed by this thrilling, disturbing and kinda weird book. His grasp of the narrative was absolute throughout, no small feat considering the extreme meta-literary gymnastics he puts the reader through. I enjoyed the unfolding mysteries, the multiple (and often (or maybe not) unreliable) narrators, the jumps forwards and backwards in time, and the globe-spanning locales. I guess I only knocked one star off because of the unanswered questions, especially the big one: did Adam Walker really, um, do that stuff (readers know what I mean). I understand the whole unreliable narrator bit, but I guess it seems a little passe to me, or if not, then this book should be the final statement on unreliable storytellers. It seems like Auster went to too much trouble setting up these characters and intense situations to just leave us hanging. Still, I was engrossed the whole time, and I would highly recommend it to someone looking for a challenging, post-modern drama.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Even the overly used and dependable Marmite saying ‘Love it or Hate it’ isn’t appropriate for ‘Invisible’, Paul Auster’s latest novel. ‘Love it AND Hate it’ is more suitable. I’ve been an enthusiast of Paul Auster’s writing since I read his ‘New York Trilogy’, which I coincidently found in Manhattan earlier this year. So was looking forward to reading his latest work. The ‘Love It’ bit.. In true Auster style, he provides a master class in creating amazingly descriptive narration. Auster cleverly g Even the overly used and dependable Marmite saying ‘Love it or Hate it’ isn’t appropriate for ‘Invisible’, Paul Auster’s latest novel. ‘Love it AND Hate it’ is more suitable. I’ve been an enthusiast of Paul Auster’s writing since I read his ‘New York Trilogy’, which I coincidently found in Manhattan earlier this year. So was looking forward to reading his latest work. The ‘Love It’ bit.. In true Auster style, he provides a master class in creating amazingly descriptive narration. Auster cleverly gets his main character to write his own autobiography in first, second and third person voices. In the fourth and last part of the book, the main character is replaced by two other characters who complete the story. Despite the first chapter being 70 pages in length, and the second and third even longer, it’s an easy to read book; however the plot requires commitment from the reader. Auster gets the reader to think about what’s real, and about the dependability of the main characters memory. The story takes place over a period of forty years, and therefore some facts get distorted over time. The ‘Hate it’ bit.. I absolutely hated the disturbing and graphically described incestuous relationship that takes place. This sexual relationship between the main character and his sister is repulsive. The story is very tiresome and gets lost due to Auster being overly ingenious, swapping the perspective of the narrator in each part of the book; which he does very well. I was massively disappointed that such a talented writer, with such a gift for writing, would use it to create such a sick and disturbing story; a story I can’t imagine anyone finding remotely interesting. In summary, I would not recommend ‘Invisible.’ I love Auster’s writing style, but detest this poor story. There are many other fine books, where the reader can appreciate great writing, enjoy the author showing off their skill, juggling different narrator changes throughout a book; yet don’t have to endure such an appalling plot. This is not one of Austers best books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Brilliant. Kicking myself for not embracing Auster earlier

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Post Lisen Review: Describing this book is really difficult. It is very well written, the prose is engaging, the events described in it are incredible yet it is certainly not for everyone. It blurs lines between facts and fiction, it shifts from different narrators and points of view and sums up one single story but at times doesn't feel completely coherent. Yet that it doesn't feel completely coherent is actually more of a strength than a weakness in this case. The book can be very sexually exp Post Lisen Review: Describing this book is really difficult. It is very well written, the prose is engaging, the events described in it are incredible yet it is certainly not for everyone. It blurs lines between facts and fiction, it shifts from different narrators and points of view and sums up one single story but at times doesn't feel completely coherent. Yet that it doesn't feel completely coherent is actually more of a strength than a weakness in this case. The book can be very sexually explicit and violent in completely surprising ways but it maintains an impeccable literary quality. The book takes place in three parts. The first part deals with a meeting between two men that leads to a very memorable incident of violence that resonates throughout. I felt like this was the strongest part of the book and the easiest to listen to. The second part was much more difficult to take. It dealt with a relationship between a brother and sister that was, let's just say, not exactly normal by societal standards. I found myself cringing at the section but not upset at the author for putting it in. It was just something where you suddenly see the protagonist in an entirely, disturbingly to my mind, different way. Part of me was revolted by him but at the same time I wanted to know what would happen. I really found this part to be the hardest to listen to. The third part deals with what happens after the main character dies and specifically deals with the man involved in the violent incident from the first part. While this part was less disturbing than the second part it was a little less engaging. Still the writing was excellent. All in all I hope to find more of Paul Auster on the library shelves and since this is his fifteenth novel there is a good chance I will. Pre-Listen Guess: I have no idea what to expect from this. If it's not a romance or a horribly bad mystery it'll be worth at least two stars though.

  26. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. New York, 1967 to 1990. When Adam Walker was 16 years old, he and his 15-year old sister, Gwyn had a one-night experiment of doing sexual acts sans intercourse to appease their curiosity on sex. Two years after, to be exact in 1967, Adam was in a party and while standing in a corner, met Rudolf Born a French professor who led a double or triple life and his girlfriend, Margot. After only a few days, Adam began sleeping with Margot. This is my second book by Paul Auster and, like his The New York New York, 1967 to 1990. When Adam Walker was 16 years old, he and his 15-year old sister, Gwyn had a one-night experiment of doing sexual acts sans intercourse to appease their curiosity on sex. Two years after, to be exact in 1967, Adam was in a party and while standing in a corner, met Rudolf Born a French professor who led a double or triple life and his girlfriend, Margot. After only a few days, Adam began sleeping with Margot. This is my second book by Paul Auster and, like his The New York Trilogy, I enjoyed this tremendously. Being a novel about a poet or a writer, Mr. Auster has this superb ability to tell a single story told in many perspectives that you would keep on guessing which one is right and which one is not. He will not answer that for you but he would just give some gentle hints in the end. There is a lot of sex scenes here and it almost turned me off but the storytelling is almost flawless, the prose is crisp and straightforward. From New York, the story will bring you to the romantic Paris and ends up in a remote island of Quillia. Except some mention of the Berlin Wall, cold war, French-Algerian war, etc., this novel has no big backdrop that makes it an instant classic. However, the storytelling is the big factor why everyone is enjoying this book. Mr. Auster here is too brilliant to pass up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    3.5 stars For the first half or so, I wondered if this was a test: how reprehensible does a person have to be before one abandons him as such? Adam Walker just drags the reader deeper into a moral abyss. You can forgive one thing, excuse another as his age, the era, see another through the lens of insufferable grief. But then he goes a step too far, and there's no telling where else this will go. But then... we get another perspective, calling into doubt Walker's distasteful confession. And if tha 3.5 stars For the first half or so, I wondered if this was a test: how reprehensible does a person have to be before one abandons him as such? Adam Walker just drags the reader deeper into a moral abyss. You can forgive one thing, excuse another as his age, the era, see another through the lens of insufferable grief. But then he goes a step too far, and there's no telling where else this will go. But then... we get another perspective, calling into doubt Walker's distasteful confession. And if that part is untrue, is any of it real? Why would he confess to some transgressions, but then make some up? If he is too ill for his memory to be trusted, is any of it real? The lure proves too much, and Walker's college friend tries to track down some truth. He seems to get some... but it only leads to more confusion about the truth of another character. So... we're left with a bunch of characters we can't really know. If you like beautiful prose and a compelling, if convoluted, storyline, then you'll like this. If you need clear answers to all your questions, walk away from this book. It's not for you.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Abraham

    Kept me coming back. Fully enjoyed it!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lars Guthrie

    I hesitated in rating this one, because it was so unsettling. Then, being unsettled can be valuable. It is also Auster, mannered and clever, fey and twee, all at once, with an idiosyncratic voice so ubiquitous that it's hard differentiating between the characters behind the multiple first-person narratives in 'Invisible.' But like the 'The New York Trilogy,' Auster somehow pulls the rabbit out of the hat. Artifice becomes effective trope; the trick turns into truth. 'Invisible' is an investigatio I hesitated in rating this one, because it was so unsettling. Then, being unsettled can be valuable. It is also Auster, mannered and clever, fey and twee, all at once, with an idiosyncratic voice so ubiquitous that it's hard differentiating between the characters behind the multiple first-person narratives in 'Invisible.' But like the 'The New York Trilogy,' Auster somehow pulls the rabbit out of the hat. Artifice becomes effective trope; the trick turns into truth. 'Invisible' is an investigation into what lies beneath the surface, in the case the surface of a blandly handsome and promising Columbia student of literature in 1967 who disappears from, then reappears (nearly a half century later) in the life of a former classmate--then disappears again. Adam Walker (every name has a peculiar significance in this novel) is thus invisible on several levels. But as you might expect, when Auster peels away the layers of this onion, we're still not sure what is really there. One thing that is buried beneath the surface of Walker's life is a bit of shockingly transgressive behavior. But like Martin in Edward Albee's 'The Goat, or, Who Is Sylvia?' Walker attracted my sympathy as much as my disapprobation, and made me think below the surface about what makes us classify certain behaviors as transgressive. In 'The Goat,' it's buggering a horned mammal; in 'Invisible' it's brother boffing sister. As in 'The Goat,' the transgression is so out there and matter-of-fact in the same moment that it is comic. A component of humor, after all, is a certain amount of discomfort. Likewise, I found an element of comedy in Auster's portrayal of Walker's Kurtz (with parallels to both Conrad's and Brando's), the peculiarly and significantly named Rudolf Born. Surely Auster intended that we chuckle at his parting view of Born--a decaying and overweight megalomaniac living in an isolated wilderness, muttering to himself as he is attended to by the natives. A deliciously magnificent villain, if ever there was one. While 'Invisible' can be disquieting and affected, I don't mean to imply anything negative about its readability. In fact, it is written much more like a best seller than 'The New York Trilogy,' and, for Auster, is quite accessible. I devoured it quickly, and with gusto. But the state of cognitive dissonance it engendered has stuck with me, and kept me returning to its theme: what is invisible, what is beneath the surface.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deniz

    My knowledge of Auster is limited to Sunset Park and this novel, but it seems to me that all his characters speak the same. When reading Invisible, not only I thought all the people in the book had the same tone, but I also felt Adam and Miles of Sunset Park were the same person. Adam resembles Miles (or should I say Miles resembles Adam, because Invisible was written before Sunset Park) in the sense that he's "handsome as a movie star" and very intelligent, bright in sports, a genius in literat My knowledge of Auster is limited to Sunset Park and this novel, but it seems to me that all his characters speak the same. When reading Invisible, not only I thought all the people in the book had the same tone, but I also felt Adam and Miles of Sunset Park were the same person. Adam resembles Miles (or should I say Miles resembles Adam, because Invisible was written before Sunset Park) in the sense that he's "handsome as a movie star" and very intelligent, bright in sports, a genius in literature, a promising poet, and so on. Does Paul Auster have an obsession about perfect male protagonists? I wouldn't know, because I only read 2 out of his nearly 20 books. But hey, I'm just throwing that theory in the middle. Do with it what you will. There is also minor talk about the techniques of writing a book, and the title comes from that talk, where Jim mentions when you write in first person, you make yourself "invisible" to yourself. The book plays with all those techniques, first person or third person. I must admit that the abrupt and mysterious ending infuriated me. Yes, infuriated, maybe because I was expecting a lot from the book, maybe because I trusted Paul Auster very much, but probably because it left me with so many questions. I didn't like it one bit. The journey was enjoyable, but when the book ends, you feel you are handed something irrelevant instead of the thing you were expecting. I felt like I wasted my time. It's not true, but I guess I'm a fan of fulfilling endings. Yes, it's a good book. You can try it, if you don't mind the slightly somber aura.

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