Catalogue


Oracle night /
Paul Auster.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : H. Holt, 2003.
description
243 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
0805073205
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : H. Holt, 2003.
isbn
0805073205
catalogue key
5071991
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
FromOracle Night: It was the second bewildering conversation we'd had in the past eighteen hours. Once again, Grace had been hinting at something she refused to name, some kind of inner turmoil that seemed to be dogging her conscience, and it left me at a loss, groping dumbly to figure out what was going on. And yet how tender she was that evening, how glad to accept my small ministrations, how happy to have me sit beside her on the bed. After all we'd been through together in the past year, after all her steadfastness and composure during my long illness, it seemed impossible that she could ever do anything that would disappoint me. And even if she did, I was foolish enough and loyal enough not to care. I wanted to stay married to her for the rest of my life, and if Grace had slipped at some point or done something she wasn't proud of, what difference could that make in the long run? It wasn't my job to judge her. I was her husband, not a lieutenant in the moral police, and I meant to stand by her no matter what.
First Chapter
From Oracle Night:

It was the second bewildering conversation we’d had in the past eighteen hours. Once again, Grace had been hinting at something she refused to name, some kind of inner turmoil that seemed to be dogging her conscience, and it left me at a loss, groping dumbly to figure out what was going on. And yet how tender she was that evening, how glad to accept my small ministrations, how happy to have me sit beside her on the bed. After all we’d been through together in the past year, after all her steadfastness and composure during my long illness, it seemed impossible that she could ever do anything that would disappoint me. And even if she did, I was foolish enough and loyal enough not to care. I wanted to stay married to her for the rest of my life, and if Grace had slipped at some point or done something she wasn’t proud of, what difference could that make in the long run? It wasn’t my job to judge her. I was her husband, not a lieutenant in the moral police, and I meant to stand by her no matter what.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-11-10:
One morning in September 1982, a struggling novelist recovering from a near-fatal illness purchases, on impulse, a blue notebook from a new store in his Brooklyn neighborhood. So begins Auster's artful, ingenious 12th novel, which is both a darkly suspenseful domestic drama and a moving meditation on chance and loss. Reflecting on a past conversation and armed with his new notebook, Sidney Orr is compelled to write about a man who walks away from his comfortable, staid life after a brush with death a contemporary retelling of the Flitcraft episode in Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Orr's description of his fictional project takes over for a while, but through a framing narrative and a series of long, occasionally digressive footnotes, he teasingly reveals himself, his lovely wife, Grace, and their mutual friend, the famous novelist John Trause. While Orr's hero finds himself locked in a bomb shelter, Grace begins behaving strangely, the stationery shop is shuttered, John's drug-addicted son looms menacingly in the background and the blue notebook exerts a troubling power. The plot of this bizarrely fascinating novel strains credibility, but Auster's unique genius is to make the absurd coherent; his stories have a dreamlike, hallucinatory logic. The title comes from the name of the novel that appears within the story Orr is writing, and hints at the book's theme: that fiction might be at some level prophetic, not merely reflecting reality but shaping it. There is tension, however, between power and impotence: as Orr puts it, "Randomness stalks us every day of our lives, and those lives can be taken from us at any moment for no reason at all." Author tour. (Dec. 2) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-09-15:
Spooky things transpire after novelist Sidney Orr buys a blank book. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, September 2003
Booklist, October 2003
New York Times Book Review, November 2003
Publishers Weekly, November 2003
Library Journal, December 2003
New York Times Book Review, December 2003
Books in Canada, April 2004
Globe & Mail, November 2004
New York Times Book Review, January 2005
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
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 puzzling events that threaten to destroy his marriage and undermine his faith in reality. Why does his wife suddenly break down in tears in the backseat of a taxi just hours after Sidney begins writing in the notebook? Why does M. R. Chang, the owner of the stationery shop, precipitously close his business the next day? What are the connections between a 1938 Warsaw telephone directory and a lost novel in which the hero can predict the future? At what point does animosity explode into violence? To what degree is forgiveness the ultimate expression of love? Paul Auster's mesmerizing eleventh novel reads like an old-fashioned ghost story. But there are no ghosts in this bookonly flesh-and-blood human beings, wandering through the haunted realms of everyday life. At once a meditation on the nature of time and a journey through the labyrinth of one man's imagination,Oracle Nightis a narrative tour de force that confirms Auster's reputation as one of the boldest, most original writers at work in America today.
Main Description
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 puzzling events that threaten to destroy his marriage and undermine his faith in reality. Why does his wife suddenly break down in tears in the backseat of a taxi just hours after Sidney begins writing in the notebook? Why does M. R. Chang, the owner of the stationery shop, precipitously close his business the next day? What are the connections between a 1938 Warsaw telephone directory and a lost novel in which the hero can predict the future? At what point does animosity explode into violence? To what degree is forgiveness the ultimate expression of love? Paul Auster's mesmerizing eleventh novel reads like an old-fashioned ghost story. But there are no ghosts in this bookonly flesh-and-blood human beings, wandering through the haunted realms of everyday life. At once a meditation on the nature of time and a journey through the labyrinth of one man's imagination, Oracle Night is a narrative tour de force that confirms Auster's reputation as one of the boldest, most original writers at work in America today.

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