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Greatest Living Writer in the U.S.

Updated on December 27, 2012

Paul Auster

Paul Auster was born right after WO II in 1947. He is an American author, living in Brooklyn, and married to The New York Trilogy. This book came out in 1987 and it was the breakthrough Auster needed. They are not conventional detective stories based around a secret and with a series of clues. Rather, he uses the detective form to drive stories around existenial issues and issues of identity. Investigation into identity and personal issues are common subjects in recent Auster publications.

Because of his sharp, accessible prose that contrasts with the dreamlike qualities the stories have Paul Auster is considered one of the greatest living writers in the U.S.

The New York Trilogy

The New York Trilogy
The New York Trilogy

Three stories bundled into one book. Nowadays they are considered to form a whole. At first glance it's a detective novel. A detective-fiction writer receives a mysterious call asking if he is the private investigator Paul Auster? The story continues in what is now typical Paul Auster fashion. Most of the story is set against a background of realism but this layer of reality gets ripped apart by sudden flares of madness, thoroughly changing the direction of the story. This is certainly not the easiest introduction into Paul Auster's work. If you are new to his books I would recommend The Book of Illusions or Oracle Night. It is however a key work in his oeuvre.

 

Winter Journal

Winter Journal
Winter Journal

The newest work of Paul Auster. A book written in the second person as if being read to you by an aging man who overthinks his life. It's not a traditional autobiographical work as it's fiction and presented as lists, random memories and fragmented stories. It vaguely reminds me of an earlier autobiographical work by this author; Hand to Mouth. A chronicle of his early failures. It's basically an autobiographical work but it almost exclusively deals with the state of his finances and what he is doing to repair these. It's very original in a sense that although you sense he is in a relationship during this time you don't a glimpse of his "personal" life.

 

Invisible

Invisible: A Novel
Invisible: A Novel

The protagonist of Invisible is a young man called Adam Walker. It's 1967 and he is studying at Columbia (like Auster used to) and he has a great lust for literature. He wants to be a poet but instead gets caught up in a love triangle? Or at least a complicated situation with Rudolf Born, a dangerous force, and a beautiful French woman by the name of Margot. Later he meets a girl called ecile in Paris. And yet the complications don't end there. Invisible is at an entertaining and easy read and at the same time loaded with postmodern complications. You can enjoy it for the sake of it or delve so deep into post modernism might never be seen again. Clancy Martin says in The NY Times: "It is the finest novel Paul Auster has ever written."

 

Blackbox

Paul Auster Interview - Interviewed by Granta on Invisible

More Books by Paul Auster - (Chronologically Ordered)

Oracle Night

Oracle Night
Oracle Night

Sidney Orr is a normal guy who buys a new blue notebook and starts writing about a man who completely changes his life and slowly comes to the realisation that most of his life has been governed by series of random coincidences. Sidney lives in Brooklyn like the author and they share some other similarities as well. It's one of my favourtie Auster novels because it is very accesible and at the same time you are confronted with the typical Auster trickeries of stories within stories that aren't the real stories. In the end it's about a man and his relationship with his wife. But it's framed much more interesting then that.

 

The Book of Illusions

The Book of Illusions: A Novel
The Book of Illusions: A Novel

David Zimmer, a character also appearing in the earlier Moon Palace, is a university professor and loses his wife and children to a plane crash. He becomes depressed and isolates himself. In his current state he happens to discover a silent comedy of Hector Mann. An actor who has been missing since 1920. He starts watching all his films and writing a book about the man's life. When it becomes published things quickly become very strange. The foundation of Auster realism is torn apart by the geysers of his postmodern imagination. A deep and moving story of a man coming to terms with the death of his loved ones.

 

More Great Novels by Paul Auster - (Chronologically Ordered)

Especially Mr. Vertigo and The Music of Chance are highly recommended!

Earliest Works

I am a huge fan of Moon Palace!

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