9.18.2009

Paul Auster's Oracle Night

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Recuperating from an illness, Sidney Orr bought a blue Portugese notebook from an antique Chinese Shop to resharpen his craft in writing stories. Thereon, the novel's perspective tiptoed between stories he created, side stories unpublished, stories recalled from memory, and finally the Big Story regarding Orr, his wife Grace, his father in-law John Trause (an Auster Cryptogram), and John's black sheep son Jacob.

This book is my first Auster novel and I was surprised that I was able to finish reading this while overtaking other books I'm reading like Joe Haldeman's anti-war novel The Forever War and Dan Simmons' ultra-horror thriller Song of Kali. I was expecting to be amazed by the mysterious Portugese notebook and the story written on it (the story within a story) that ended at abrupt cul-de-sac but in the end, the real story is still the better story. I like the transition between the written stories (side stories) and the main story, the unfolding of the truth directly told by Orr and ultimately the fast-paced brutal ending.

The Chinese shop owner M.R. Chang is a remarkable character but he became just another stereotyped portrayal of an Asian in the Western Literature as absurd but funny guy, and a Kung Fu blunder if not Kung Fu fighter. Though I didn't like Sidney Orr's role as a weakling against Jacob's, but it's understandable given that Orr is still recovering from an illness. As a reader, you can easily anticipate the Big Story but you'll be surprised by the ending.

This book is worth a try if there's nothing available in your shelf. It's a short novel and easy to read but I believe this is not Paul Auster's best novel.



My Rating: 3.5 cadernos out of 5
Genre: Modern Fiction

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