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The Golden Age
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The Golden Age is a fantastical travelogue in which a modern-day Gulliver writes a book about a civilization he once encountered on a tiny island in the Atlantic. The islanders seem at first to do nothing but sit and observe the world, and indeed draw no distinction between reality and representation, so that a mirror image seems as substantial to them as a person (and vice versa); but the center of their culture is revealed to be "The Book," a handwritten, collective novel filled with feuding royal families, murderous sorcerers, and narrow escapes. Anyone is free to write in "The Book," adding their own stories, crossing out others, or even ap- pending "footnotes" in the form of little paper pouches full of extra text--but of course there are pouches within pouches, so that the story is impossible to read "in order," and soon begins to overwhelm the narrator's orderly treatise.
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This 2001 novel, Ajvaz s most brilliantly complicated, is a fictional travelogue, part philosophical ethnography and part potboiling fairy tale. --Jonathan Bolton

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