Book review: Travels in the Scriptorium

by Yuri Privolsky

Here is one of those books that are bound to be loved or else hated, there is not any other possible reaction for the reader due to its particular style. Despite its short number of pages it’s a book that can become very heavy indeed.

The story takes place in a room, but a special one, since we don’t know where it is located. To make it more strange it’s completely sealed and everything has an etiquette whit its name on it. In that weird place an old man is held as a prisoner.

That man (referred as Mr. Blank) doesn’t remember anything about himself. The reason for him to be locked there, his name, his family, his friends…nothing. He doesn’t even realize how long he has been in the room, because his window is “blinded” and he is scared of crossing the door to find out what lies beyond that point.

During the 130 pages of the book Mr. Blank meets many persons who come to visit him while he reads the story of a fictional character that helps him to pass the time and he manages to bring some of his memories back. Who is Mr. Blank? And who might all these persons that come so every often be? And much more important…where and why is he locked?

The story remains enigmatic until the very end of the book, which has an absolutely surprising ending. But as I said in the first paragraph there’s only room for hate or love, and I have developed some negative feelings to this book. I didn’t like it at all, and in my opinion some things are not well explained and the author literally laughs in the face of the reader.


4 thoughts on “Book review: Travels in the Scriptorium

  1. Judging by the review, the book is a must-read.

    The idea of an amnesic main character who discovers himself through dialogue with several people is by no means original, however “I have developed some negative feelings to this book” testifies to Paul Auster’s writing skills.

    Yuri’s comment that “some things are not well explained and the author literally laughs in the face of the reader” only adds to my curiosity. Few things beat “room for interpretation” to keep the reader engaged.

    Thank you for the review, I think it was helpful.

  2. Ricardo: Unfortunately it has nothing to do with Silent Hill 4: The Room´s brilliant plot. Great game by the way 🙂

    I´m glad to see that this review has been useful for someone. Hope you enjoy the book more than I did… it´s not bad at all, but I reckon that it´s not my style :$

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