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Ever the surrealist, Paul Auster now presents us with writing about a writer who’s scribbling a story about an editor who’s working on a dead novelist’s long-lost book, called Oracle Night—which is also the title of Auster’s new novel. Using a strange blue Portuguese notebook, the book’s narrator, Sidney Orr, composes this story within a story, based on a tale ripped from The Maltese Falcon: After a near-death experience with a falling limestone gargoyle, an editor opts to leave his wife and life behind, save the aforementioned dead author’s book, and start anonymously anew. He bolts New York for Kansas City, finding work stocking old phone books in an old bomb shelter where he later finds himself trapped; strangely, so does our narrator. Ultimately, Auster scraps this metastory and returns to Orr’s own strife back in Brooklyn, wrangling with marriage, health, and employment. For one thing, his wife complains, writing in the blue notebook effectively turns him invisible. Get lost in Auster’s oration from Oracle Night at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Chris Shott)