i got a reading copy of the book of illusions about ten million years ago and never picked it up. i don't know if it was because the fact that i was engrossed in leviathan on the morning of the bombings on the world trade center on september 11, 2001. probably.
i was riding the bus to get to work and as i was lost in a world that paul auster created, i was only vaguely aware of the undercurrents of an event happening around me. and like so often in the past with my reading habits, i dismissed the world around in favour of the book and the experience it could offer me. well, if anyone knows the book leviathan they will also realize how creepily uncanny it was to be reading it that morning.
suffice it to say it freaked me out and made me a little scared to pick up a paul auster novel. obviously, i ended up getting over it. 7 years later.
book of illusions is one of those novels that i believe in. and by that i mean i think it's real. paul auster is so extremely detailed in his writing that i had to remind myself that the main character's name was david not paul and that i probably wouldn't find hector mann in the imdb
under silent film actors. i like that paul auster is theme driven too, i don't often find myself reading this "type" of novel but it's entirely satisfying in a cerebral kind of way.
this book is not light. it is full of the pain and darkness of death and despair that can only come with deep personal loss - but the darkness is not treated with a heavy hand. there is a simplicity and beauty to the telling of david and hector's tales that speaks to the conviction in human nature that each of us gauges our own moral compass according to how we've lived our lives up until this moment in time.
is what we will do next like a carefully plotted chart on our life map? or do unexpected happenings change our course at every turn?