Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Invisible

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by Paul Auster

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  • First Published:
    Oct 2009, 320 pages
    Jun 2010, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amy Reading

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About this Book

Beyond the Book

Frame Narration and Ekphrasis
Paul Auster frequently employs two particular literary techniques which, when combined, turn his novels into multi-layered stories with internal echoes and reverberations.

The first is a frame narrative, in which the main plot is a story, usually in the form of a manuscript, which is discovered and introduced by someone else. This device paradoxically helps establish the reality of Auster's world at the same time that it highlights the book's flagrant fictionality as mere words on a page. On the one hand, the embedded story's status as a text prevents the reader from getting fully immersed in it. On the other hand, the context that is built around the embedded story becomes a kind of self-referential world. It is the resonance between the textual layers that begins to feel real to Auster's readers. In Invisible, we get to experience Jim Freeman's perception of Adam Walker, and this invests Walker with a flesh-and-blood dimensionality that a ...

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