Oracle Night

  • by Paul Auster
  • Narrated by Paul Auster
  • 7 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Several months into his recovery from a near-fatal illness, 34-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 bewildering 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 shut down 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 book, only 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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What the Critics Say

"Artful, ingenious...both a darkly suspenseful domestic drama and a moving meditation on chance and loss....Auster's unique genius is to make the absurd coherent; his stories have a dreamlike, hallucinatory logic." (Publishers Weekly)
"Auster has a droll, almost twangy, voice, which he uses to good effect....Oracle Night is likely to be revered by Auster's many fans." (AudioFile)
"[Auster] shines as a fabulist and tale-teller, putting a high-modernist gloss on noir." (The New Yorker)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Unusual but unsatisfying

"Oracle Night" is a patchwork quilt of stories within stories within stories. Like one of his characters, Mr. Auster appears to have gone through some of his old notebooks and found some story ideas that do not work out and included them here. While there are some moments when deja vu and coincidence combine to produce a chilling, supernatural effect, for the most part, the story is rather silly. I did not care at all what happens to these self-absorbed, incomplete characters who seem to act in some kind of existential nightmare where nothing makes any sense. Mr. Auster is not a gifted reader and his pace is so slow that I often found my attention wandering. Since two of the main characters are writers, perhaps this is more of an insider's story. It seems that the author, in an attempt to make up something interesting in an otherwise mundane life, has gone too far and created an unbelievable world that leaves the reader wishing for the nonsense to end.
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- Gail N. "Honest Reader"

The Master Speaks

Another excellent work from one of our finest novelists. Of particular note is the fact that Auster himself reads the text. I have read most of his books and have never heard his voice. It was very gratifying. If you like serious fiction with moderately challenging structures this is for you. If you like action films and predictable plots you should go for something else. Auster is a great contemporary artist.
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- Dean

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-05-2005
  • Publisher: HarperAudio