An old man sits in a room, with a single door and window, a bed, a desk and a chair. Each day he awakes with no memory, unsure of whether or not he is locked into the room. Attached to the few objects around him are one-word, hand-written labels, and on the desk is a series of vaguely familiar black-and-white photographs and four piles of paper. Then a middle-aged woman called Anna enters and talks of pills and treatment, but also of love and promises.
Who is this Mr Blank, and what is his fate? What does Anna represent from his past - and will he have enough time to ever make sense of the clues that arise?
After the huge success of The Brooklyn Follies, his new novel sees Auster return to the metaphysical territory familiar from his enormously influential The New York Trilogy. A dark puzzle, and a game that implicates both reader and writer alike, Travels in the Scriptorium is a mind-altering exploration of language, responsibility and the passage of time.
'Travels in the Scriptorium returns to . . . the nihilistic gaiety of Beckett (in particular Krapp) or the sub-dermal violence of Pinter.' New Statesman