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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
With such novels as The Book of Illusions and Timbuktu, Paul Auster has garnered a well-deserved reputation for literary experimentation, philosophical depth, and darkly atmospheric narratives. This time out he gives us a fascinating story about the redemptive qualities of love and the healing nature of the creative process.
While recovering from a serious illness, novelist Sidney Orr purchases a blue notebook and fashions a tale that, in some ways, parallels his own life. At the suggestion of a friend, the celebrated writer John Trause, Sidney crafts an alternate version of a Dashiell Hammett story that eventually departs completely from its source material. As Sidney's work progresses, he is drawn further into the book's plot, which concerns a manuscript called Oracle Night and features a World War I British officer tortured by the "gift" of prophecy. He also begins to receive what he believes may be signs about an impending disaster.
As the bewitching and bizarre narrative threads begin to weave together, Auster pulls us into a compelling world where salvation may be found within one's own conscience and courage. As the characters in Orr's magical blue notebook face their demons, regrets, and failures, the author realizes that he, too, must brave his troubled marriage and other difficult relationships.
Auster's surreal style allows readers a chance to consider the protagonist's troubled soul in ways not possible with a conventional linear narrative. We see how one's conflicts, perils, and losses can be overcome with the strength of will and hope. Oracle Night is a novel of hallucinatory power that will haunt you for many days to come. Tom Piccirilli