Paul Auster (1947-2024)

Paul Auster, award winning author and filmmaker, died thPaul Austeris week at the age of 77 due to complications of lung cancer.

Though a native of New Jersey, Auster's career as a writer began in Paris, where he moved after college to work as a writer and translator.  When he returned to the US in 1974, his translations of French literature provided a living, but it wasn't until the debut of his own writing, a memoir entitled The Invention of Solitude, that Auster caught the eye of critics and readers alike.  Within the next few years, Auster had published The New York Trilogy, a trio of interconnected novels that posed existential questions about understanding, connection, and identity.  The unique style of Auster's writing and the construction of his works quickly earned him a place among in the pantheon of post-modernist writers.  He used familiar structures like noir detective fiction or American history and culture as frames for exploring bigger, less tangible mysteries.  An accomplished poet, Auster played with language while simultaneously expressing its inability to truly capture or adequately detail both the world we inhabit and the connections that make that habitation meaningful.  As one Los Angeles Times review described it, his works "[raise the] question of who is the master, language or us?"

In addition to novels, short stories, collections of poetry, and an array of non-fiction, Auster also wrote screenplays.  In 1995, he won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay for the film Smoke, which he had also co-directed.  His literary accolades include both national and international recognition, from the French Prix Médicis Étranger (an honor given to an accomplished author whose "fame does not yet match his talent") for his novel Leviathan, to the Booker Prize shortlist in 2017 for the novel 4 3 2 1.

Nicknamed “dean of American post-modernists,” Paul Auster's work—both fictional and otherwise—challenged the way readers related to his stories, to language, and to reality itself.  With the lines between real and surreal deftly blurred (even sometimes writing himself directly into his work, as in City of Glass), Auster posed questions about the authority of the author and the will of the characters they create.  Is everything just chance or are we authors of our own lives?  Neither Auster's characters nor the man himself had a definitive answer on that one.

Paul Auster died on April 30th at his home in Brooklyn.  He had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022.

 

City of Glass: The Graphic Novel By Paul Auster, Paul Karasik (Adapted by), David Mazzucchelli (Adapted by), Art Spiegelman (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Paul Auster, Paul Karasik (Adapted by), David Mazzucchelli (Adapted by), Art Spiegelman (Introduction by)
$19.00
ISBN: 9780312423605
Availability: Backordered
Published: Picador - August 1st, 2004

I Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales from NPR's National Story Project By Paul Auster (Introduction by), Paul Auster (Editor) Cover Image
By Paul Auster (Introduction by), Paul Auster (Editor)
$30.00
ISBN: 9780312421007
Availability: Not Currently In-Store; May require 2-3 days before shipping
Published: Picador - September 7th, 2002

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The Music of Chance By Paul Auster Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780140154078
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Books - December 1st, 1991

The Invention of Solitude By Paul Auster Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143112228
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Published: Penguin Books - January 30th, 2007

Travels in the Scriptorium: A Novel By Paul Auster Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780312426293
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Published: Picador - December 26th, 2007

The New York Trilogy: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By Paul Auster, Lucy Sante (Introduction by), Art Spiegelman (Cover design or artwork by) Cover Image
By Paul Auster, Lucy Sante (Introduction by), Art Spiegelman (Cover design or artwork by)
$20.00
ISBN: 9780143039839
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Classics - March 28th, 2006

Man in the Dark: A Novel By Paul Auster Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780312428518
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Published: Picador - April 28th, 2009

Collected Prose: Autobiographical Writings, True Stories, Critical Essays, Prefaces, Collaborations with Artists, and Interviews By Paul Auster Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780312429928
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Published: Picador - June 22nd, 2010

Sunset Park: A Novel By Paul Auster Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780312610678
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Published: Picador - October 25th, 2011

Oracle Night: A Novel By Paul Auster Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780312428952
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Published: Picador - April 28th, 2009

The Book of Illusions: A Novel By Paul Auster Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780312429010
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Published: Picador - October 27th, 2009

Here and Now: Letters 2008-2011 By Paul Auster, J. M. Coetzee Cover Image
$25.20
ISBN: 9780143124917
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Published: Penguin Books - March 4th, 2014

Report from the Interior By Paul Auster Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250052292
Availability: Not Currently In-Store; May require 2-3 days before shipping
Published: Picador - October 28th, 2014

The Brooklyn Follies: A Novel By Paul Auster Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780312429003
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Published: Picador - October 27th, 2009

4 3 2 1: A Novel By Paul Auster Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781250618801
Availability: Backordered
Published: Picador - May 5th, 2020