Since discovering Paul Auster’s work a number of years ago I have devoured everything of his I could get my hands on. I was in Hodges Figgis last week looking for something new to get my teeth into and I spied Auster’s “Invisible”, a novel published last year that I somehow never read at the time. Decision made, I bought it and ended up finishing it over the course of two nights last Sunday and Monday.
Invisible’s main character is Adam Walker, who is a twenty year old student at Columbia University when the book opens in 1967. One evening at a party, he meets an intriguing and alluring French couple: Margot is an aloof and enigmatic beauty, and her boyfriend Rudolf Born is wealthy, gregarious and devious. Rudolf is the catalyst for an event which occurs one third of the way through the book that changes the course of Adam’s life (and as I loathe book reviews that give away the plot, I won’t tell you what it is).
It becomes apparent that the first portion of the book is Adam’s memoir told as he is now dying of leukaemia, although throughout the book there are multiple narrators and stories within stories, both common Auster devices. Auster is fond of metafictional devices and self-referential characters and this can be seen in both the characters of Adam Walker, an aspiring poet in his youth, and Jim Freeman, Adam’s old college buddy who is now a successful author.
The book is a pageturner, with themes of familial love, lust, loss, youthful naïvete and intensity, and of course, writing, Auster’s favourite subject. Check out the below interview from Granta Magazine with Auster on the subject of Invisible.