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Notes while reading this book I can say that after reading the first twenty three pages I am hooked So much going on for me here I especially enjoyed the sponge bath happy ending Beautifully done.Immediately thinking of Quentin Tarantino s Mr Black, Mr Pink, in Austen s character Mr Blank The mystery Also the simple and sparse theater set in the novel reminds me of a stage play being acted out and a response of some sort to Endgame by Samuel Beckett Again, the mystery is what does it f Notes while reading this book I can say that after reading the first twenty three pages I am hooked So much going on for me here I especially enjoyed the sponge bath happy ending Beautifully done.Immediately thinking of Quentin Tarantino s Mr Black, Mr Pink, in Austen s character Mr Blank The mystery Also the simple and sparse theater set in the novel reminds me of a stage play being acted out and a response of some sort to Endgame by Samuel Beckett Again, the mystery is what does it for me While reading this novel I am made to feel the old boy Mr Blank is on his last legs I certainly do relate to that as I myself was crippled and forced to a wheelchair after my fall from my cabin roof the morning of Easter Sunday in 2010 But though I recovered I will never be the same and something tells me this old man won t be either Simple pleasures such as the happy ending given by the pretty woman who happened to serve as his caretaker was such a beautiful passage and something many of us men can only hope for when we near our own time of dying But the novel was puzzling to me in the end when the writer fell silent I felt robbed and was disappointed with the last few pages It felt as though Auster had grown tired of the work and found a way to bring it all to a stop The pace had been exhilarating to me, the rhythm sweet, and I was excited to learn what comes next I did not want the story to end But it did, and not so gracefully either It is possible the tale is just a simple circle and I am not bright enough to know that in my heart of hearts Paul Auster had us, along with Mr Blank, attempting to keep the characters straight Blank knew he would never remember tomorrow what happened today so he wrote names down in order to remember them and somehow fudge his memory awake enough to recall and make the association Perhaps it was dementia Alzheimer s disease is the most common type of dementia, but it didn t seem to be the problem with Blank He knew what the function of things were and it was proven when they switched all the tags on things in order to test him or confuse himIt was never very clear what his keepers were up to He was an old man who had memories of things he liked When his shoes were off he rediscovered ice skating and imagined his floor into a rink But he slipped and fell down and wet his pants in the course of the jarring crash to the floor Blank could also still tell a made up story and anxiously wanted to finish it but they wouldn t let him and that is perhaps the issue here It is possible they wouldn t let us finish either We have so many loose ends here We want closure, especially in regards to Anna Mr Blank wasn t the only one infatuated with this girl I am now, just in the last few minutes because of an internet search, painfully aware that all the characters found in Travels in the Scriptorium are from previous books by Paul Auster I have not read any of them at this writing, only this one And I am sort of glad I hadn t But now that I am hot on the trail of Auster I imagine I will beintimately reacquainted with all these folks in due time At that point I will reread the Scriptorium and I am sure I will have a totally different experience The point that Blank was being kept in a scriptorium suggests he was a writer, which makes sense now knowing what I know today But every word I wrote at the beginning of this piece was composed with no knowledge of the past works of Auster The fact is, in real time Auster himself is getting older He has quit driving a car, and he has suffered many illnesses throughout his life and aware it will only be getting worse as he continues to age Dementia is the norm for the aged Memory is also suspect as time goes by Keeping things straight is obviously for those who care, or can Having additional experiences such as loving or being loved, conversations, good food, happy endings, ice skating, and even reading would seem what is most important to a person at the end stages of a long and fulfilling life I loved the book but know I got most of it wrong I like the idea of revisiting Travels in the Scriptorium again at a later date That is, if I get there Seems I am starting with Auster s latest works and hustling my way in reverse And this method is probably not the brightest of my better ideas First things first I am an Auster fan I m not sure I d have been able to enjoy this book were I unfamiliar with his work Yes, its gotten mixed reviews Yes, it is self referential Honestly, is this a surprise to anyone Get over it Worth reading for Auster philes Without a doubt The issues Auster takes on in this novella really, it s only about 150 pages are familiar to his readers questions of identity, memory, the nature of narrative, among others The writing is tighter,comp First things first I am an Auster fan I m not sure I d have been able to enjoy this book were I unfamiliar with his work Yes, its gotten mixed reviews Yes, it is self referential Honestly, is this a surprise to anyone Get over it Worth reading for Auster philes Without a doubt The issues Auster takes on in this novella really, it s only about 150 pages are familiar to his readers questions of identity, memory, the nature of narrative, among others The writing is tighter,compact than that of Brooklyn Follies, and I enjoyed itThis book is fun to puzzle overHighly recommended If you re new to Auster, start with the New York Trilogy or Book of Illusions @KINDLE Í سفر در اتاق نسخه برداری ⚝ A man pieces together clues to his past and the identity of his captors in this fantastic, labyrinthine novel Light weight meta fiction Not much going on here really, but as always with Auster his style makes it worthwhile. What the fuck was that , I cried at the very last sentence.I planned to read another book right after finishing it but no, Auster wouldn t let me go I had to make sense of it I had to understand I had to So I retold myself the significant parts, read back on the details I thought I might be missing and tried to analyze what it was all about.This book is basically about how the characters and stories created by people, especially writers are bound to haunt them Auster illustrated the str What the fuck was that , I cried at the very last sentence.I planned to read another book right after finishing it but no, Auster wouldn t let me go I had to make sense of it I had to understand I had to So I retold myself the significant parts, read back on the details I thought I might be missing and tried to analyze what it was all about.This book is basically about how the characters and stories created by people, especially writers are bound to haunt them Auster illustrated the struggles or if I may say, the curse of writing fiction Partial stories of people were told through Mr Blank s readings and through people visiting him Then it was shown that Mr.Blank himself was responsible for the misfortunes of those people.Try as he might though, he was at a loss to make sense or even find a vague clue to his mysterious past.He also sees a parade of figment beings , demons that would eventually tear his body apart , as said in the book.Much later in the story he was asked to give the continuation of the unfinished novel he had just read.The real deal however was that Mr Blank s story is actually an ongoing novel by an author named Fanshawe who said that he Mr Blank can never die, never disappear, never be anything but the words I am writing on his page My thoughts are that the figment beings he sees whenever he close his eyes are the angry people he made to suffer.His charges Let me take this further by saying that one of those charges, was Fanshawe himself.The camera placed inside Mr.Blank s room that captured everything was Fanshawe watching his former creator He had outlived him and Mr Blank is now the made up character.This passage near the ending states the whole idea of the book Without him Mr.Blank we are nothing, but the paradox is that we characters , the figments of another mind, will outlive the mind that made us, for once we are thrown into the world, we continue to exist forever, and our stories go on being told, even after we are dead There is no argument that this is like Auster in an introspection of some sort about his writer self I hated this book for a few seconds until it got me seriously thinking long after the last page And that s what I love in a book When the reader is treated like an active, intelligent participant in the fulfillment of the story it is the first book i ve read from Paul Aster,the story was well versed..plot twist was well placed nd the authour just kept playin with our minds nd reader could only follow the plotit kinda got somehoe lost nd pointless in the end..not at all perfect but still tolerable Auster loves writing about men who lose their memory I think this is the third book of his with that basic premise, and he s such a great writer that every single one of them is wonderful One of the things I liked so much about this book, besides Auster s writing and storytelling, was that there were points throughout the story where it became possible that this book was taking place in the same world as his apocalyptic novel In the Country of Last Things It may or may not be related, but one Auster loves writing about men who lose their memory I think this is the third book of his with that basic premise, and he s such a great writer that every single one of them is wonderful One of the things I liked so much about this book, besides Auster s writing and storytelling, was that there were points throughout the story where it became possible that this book was taking place in the same world as his apocalyptic novel In the Country of Last Things It may or may not be related, but one of the things I like so much about Auster s worlds is that there is so much left unexplained that possibilities abound everywhere I have to say this was the worst Paul Auster book I ve read, and I ve read most of his works If you must read Travels in the Scriptorium, it is best that you keep your expectations in check That way you won t be bitterly disappointed From the very first words I thought this story was going nowhere I was correct When I had finished it it had gone nowhere It was a tedious read And a bore At least though, the second half was a little better than the first, but overall I thought it was a lam I have to say this was the worst Paul Auster book I ve read, and I ve read most of his works If you must read Travels in the Scriptorium, it is best that you keep your expectations in check That way you won t be bitterly disappointed From the very first words I thought this story was going nowhere I was correct When I had finished it it had gone nowhere It was a tedious read And a bore At least though, the second half was a little better than the first, but overall I thought it was a lame story and poorly written, not the work of Paul Auster at his best If you re thinking of reading this book I suggest you borrow it from your local library and save your money for something decent I have generously given this two stars, but I was tempted to give it one Picking The Language LockFrom Kafka to Blanchot to Auster it sounds a bit like an old American baseball triple play However unlikely it seems, it is in fact a direct literary lineage What s passed along isn t a baseball it s an attitude toward language, an attitude inspired by, of all things, the Kabbalah Kabbalah is a Jewish meditative technique an inadequate description but so is method, or philosophy, or experience , the purpose of which is not to understand what language means, but to Picking The Language LockFrom Kafka to Blanchot to Auster it sounds a bit like an old American baseball triple play However unlikely it seems, it is in fact a direct literary lineage What s passed along isn t a baseball it s an attitude toward language, an attitude inspired by, of all things, the Kabbalah Kabbalah is a Jewish meditative technique an inadequate description but so is method, or philosophy, or experience , the purpose of which is not to understand what language means, but to reveal what it conceals behind its mask of innocent neutrality Travels in the Scriptorium is one of Auster sexplicit Kabbalistic pieces, and therefore probably can t be fully grasped without understanding its literary ancestry.Paul Auster has translated at least two of the French Maurice Blanchot s books on the philosophy of language, and incorporates much of that philosophy in his fiction Blanchot in turn was a serious scholar of Franz Kafka who inspired Blanchot s thought through his distinctive prose of alienation, apparently alienation of the individual from repressive social regimes But Kafka s primary focus wasn t political, it was linguistic The overtly political insinuations of his stories are allegorical That is to say their language means something other than what it says Travels in the Scroptorium is obviously Kafka esque and obviously allegorical The protagonist Mr Blank inhabits a room without explanation, to him or to the reader He has no memory of his arrival there, or of his previous life The room could be a bedroom, a hospital ward, or a prison cell Mr Blank doesn t know whether he is a guest, a patient or a prisoner Meaning is in abeyance, thus capturing the reader s attention with an unstated macguffin So far, so Kafka.But very quickly it is evident that there isto the story In particular there are labels in block capitals placed on the objects in the room TABLE, PEN, SHADE, WALL, etc As descriptive designations, these labels are superfluous Mr Blank obviously knows what these objects are he hasn t lost his ability for language along with his memory They are clearly not descriptions, or reminders The labels are commands The words they contain are imposed on Mr Blank even if he is unaware of the situation The labels assert an equivalence between the object on which they are placed and the word they contain This is a rather Blanchotian twist It makes explicit the real subject of the story the power of language Foron Blanchot and Kabbalah see.On the desk is a set of typescripts which Mr Blank fears might reveal unpleasant things but to which he is irresistibly drawn The typescripts don t have a label Or said another way they constitute one complex, narrative label Mr Blank reads them with incomprehension Who are they written by Are they truthful Why are they here for him to read They constitute a command like the labels But Blank has no idea how to respond Could this be precisely the right response to the command of the typescript I think so and I think that this is a key contribution of Auster to the tradition in which he has chosen to participate The dominance of language is inescapable even when the tactics of the language game are clear.Blank tries to reassure himself with logical reasonIt s only words, he tells himself, and since when have words had the power to frighten a man half to death It won t do,but they are obviously not merely words They have an attractive power which draws him into themselves, into the story they form And they generate a range of emotions, the most important of which is the compulsion he feels to comprehend what s behind themwhile he has grasped every word of the text so far, he has no idea what to make of itUnlike the other experiences he has in the room the feel of his sock clad feet on the polished floor the sexual ministrations of his mysterious visitor, Anna the touch of a wash cloth on his neck the experience of language is problematic.There is literally no getting behind the labels After a false start to see what s outside the room, Blank gets the shade with its label to roll up, only to find impenetrably toughened glass of the window further protected by steel shutters, which are themselves held in place by large nails which he has no means to extractImagine Mr Blank s disappointment when he peers through the window and sees that the shutters have been closed, blocking any possibility of looking out to discover where he is But in a manner analogous to his attitude toward the typescript text, Blank s desire to understand his context is also ambivalent He could try the door since he doesn t know whether it locks from inside or out,But Mr Blank does not move from his spot by the window, for the simple reason that he is afraid, so afraid of what he might learn from the door that he cannot bring himself to risk a confrontation with the truthThe danger is that there is nothing there at all, at least nothing which can be discovered with a label already attached For me, this is a perfect example of Auster s imaginative brilliance And it s also the opening by which Kabbalah enters his story.The first principle another inadequate term of Kabbalah is that everything is a sign It doesn t fight language, it succumbs entirely to it Auster alludes to this by the visual and audio recording of everything that occurs in the roomThe least groan or sniffle, the least cough or fleeting flatulence that emerges from his body is therefore an integral part of our account as wellIn Kabbalah every jot and tittle of the text is of tremendous import My sense is that Auster s inclusion of Blank s grunts and mumbles and the unintelligible random noises of the room is an intentional self referential parody of Kabbalah, a very appropriate Kabbalistic tactic which frequently exposes itself to its own critique Kabbalah then destroys the conventional meaning of the signs As he reads the typescript, Blank is informed that the narrative will be used against the writer who has prepared it by those who are persecuting him The writer implies that although he is being as factual as he can be in his report, what he has written is essentially a lie which will convict him The text says,Thank the Colonel for me, and tell him I understand what he s doing He s giving me a chance to lie about what happened in order to save my neck That s very sporting of him Please tell him that I appreciate the gesture By allowing me to put the story in writing, he is gathering evidence, irrefutable evidence that will justify any action he decides to take against meIn other words even the most factual account he can give is evidence of his guilt Truth itself is falsehood the connections between words and things is broken.But Kabbalah is not merely destructive It seeks to re construct reality by re arranging the relationships among the signs of language, to give these signs not new designations connecting them to things but to give them new relationships with each other, thus re framing their emotional import as well as demonstrating their arbitrary exercise of power At one point Blank tries to adjust the labels asa symbolic undertaking to restore harmony to a broken universeThis is one of many examples of Auster s explicit use of the terminology of Kabbalah repairing the broken universe.What does Blank do to escape the power of words Remarkably, he writes He throws himself back into the arms of the thing which is constraining him, namely language He constructs a story Like the writer of the typescript, Blank can only tell another story regardless of the consequencesThe only thing I can do is tell the storyThe unique aspect of this story is that it cannot be a command, except perhaps to oneself It is therefore not something definitive or eternal or verifiable The story is a re construction out of the material at hand which will change as the material allows, including the new material of his story itself.This is the dangerous truth, the ghost in the machine, the bedrock of thought that there is no bedrock Many find this not just dangerous but sacrilegious, an affront to both the human mind and whatever they consider to be divine intelligence Travels in the Scriptorium is wonderfully dangerous and sacrilegious, just like Kabbalah This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here It is official Paul Auster is the master mind messer This book is an MC Escher drawing in literary form Spoiler alert Mr Blank is in a room He can t remember who he is, anything about his past or where he came from All he knows is what people tell him about himself and without knowing it he is under 24 hour scrutiny by a higher power, someone with an overall view of the situation Characters enter the room, perform basic tasks and leave and almost the instant that they are gone Mr Blank fo It is official Paul Auster is the master mind messer This book is an MC Escher drawing in literary form Spoiler alert Mr Blank is in a room He can t remember who he is, anything about his past or where he came from All he knows is what people tell him about himself and without knowing it he is under 24 hour scrutiny by a higher power, someone with an overall view of the situation Characters enter the room, perform basic tasks and leave and almost the instant that they are gone Mr Blank forgets who they are So who is Mr Blank Well Blank is Auster and Auster has taken the opportunity to anonymously write himself and all the great characters from all his earlier novels Peter Stillman, Walt Rawley, Daniel Quinn, Fanshawe into this book The empty room is Austers own imagination An effective prison to Mr Blank because he can try to walk out at any time but he is paralysed within the limits of his own mind No matter where he goes he will always be trapped inside his own head The cast of characters, who outwardly appear benign are the characters that Auster gave life to in all those novels At the end of novel he is charged with cruelty, criminal indifference, sexual molestation and negligent homicide these are all the things he subjected his characters to when he made them experience a life of his choosing and now they are back to get him Mr Blank is about to learn that you can create a fantasy cast of people and send them out into the world but once they re out there they will keep on living and the tables are about to be turned as the author becomes the subject of a story over which he has no control in an environment not of his own making He cannot even remember who he is and that is because he has no substance, he is being written into existance as the story progresses.This book is probably a clever comment on what it means to be a writer you can get caught up in your own head and in your own stories You can come to believe that the people you create are close friends because you know them so well Labels can be applied to anything and what you apply them to does not have to be constant or remain the same Or it might be a comment on nothing who knows But I enjoyed reading it and I was extremely pleased when I recognised all the characters names although if you ve never read any other Auster novels then this is not the place to start This is only clever if you re an Auster fan If you re not then it probably just comes off as predictable pseudo sci fi cheese