Auster's 10th novel is the story of David Zimmer, a Vermont English professor whose wife and sons are killed in a plane crash. Zimmer turns to alcohol and sleeping pills to numb the pain. Hope eventually presents itself in the form of silent-film star Hector Mann, who dropped out of sight at the height of his career in the 1920s, and whose remarkable movies become the subject of a new book by Zimmer. When the volume is published, Zimmer receives a strange invitation to meet Mann himself an offer he accepts with some skepticism. His quest brings him into contact with the mysterious Alma Grund, Mann's biographer, and an unexpected romance soon flickers between the two. Along the way, they learn some important lessons about redemption, love and the slipperiness of the past. A reading group guide is available at www.picadorusa.com.

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