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, Travels in the Scriptorium sees Auster return to more metaphysical territory. A dark puzzle, and a game that implicates both reader and writer alike, it is an ingenious exploration of language, responsibility, and the passage of time.