Laboring under an unwieldy title, the latest book from Paul Auster plods along aimlessly with a listless and muddled plotline. Basically it concerns itself with one Mr. Blank who mysteriously finds himself in a room and without any knowledge of how he got there. During his entire stay there, we are informed that he is being observed 24/7 by a camera taking still photos of him every few seconds. To what end this endeavor serves is never made clear.
Various characters are trudged onto the scene ostensibly to interact with the main protagonist but their backgrounds are equally mysterious. All of them are supposedly people from Mr. Blank’s past and who have somehow been wronged by him. Under what circumstances these crimes were committed are anyone’s guess.
Clocking in at 130 pages, this is a slim undertaking by Mr. Auster. Sadly the end does not arrive soon enough. Tight story telling has always been this author’s forte judging from his previous outings. In a misguided attempt to push the literary envelope, Auster stumbles and ultimately irks the reader into fits of abject frustration. Consider this a miss.