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The Invention of Solitude Paperback – 6 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571288324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571288328
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions, The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger for Leviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Product Description

Book Description

The Invention of Solitude is Paul Auster's very personal meditation on fatherhood.

About the Author

Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Invisible, Moon Palace, Mr Vertigo, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger for Leviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Michael Murphy VINE VOICE on 28 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
In "Portrait of an Invisible Man", the first part of Paul Auster's fascinating memoir "Invention of Solitude", Auster writes about his father's life as a means of helping himself come to terms with his father's death. Auster remembers his father as an elusive figure in his life, a truant from life emotionally detached and disconnected from family ("he had managed to keep himself at a distance from life"). To Auster, it seemed that the world's attempts to embrace his father simply bounced off him without ever making a breakthrough - it was impossible to enter his solitude. The theme of Solitude runs powerfully through this disturbing, mesmerising memoir.

Auster is conscious of how little knowledge he actually has of his father's early childhood years, how unenlightened he is with regard to his father's inner life, how few clues he has to his father's character and how little understanding of the underlying reasons for his father's immunity from the world at large. Through an amazing co-incidence involving his cousin, Auster learns of a terrible secret buried deep in his father's childhood past - the story was splashed across old newspaper reports of the time, sixty years before - of a shocking family tragedy that shattered his father's childhood world and could have seriously affected his mental outlook during his formative years, accounting for the solitariness and elusiveness that characterised the "invisible man" of Auster's childhood. Excellent, compelling writing! Dramatic revelations from a grim, distant past finally brought to light. Highly recommended!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By nickmathison@hotmail.com on 26 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
This is Auster's intimate and personal account of his own experiences as a child, attempting, and often failing to relate to his father, set alongside accounts of his own personal experience of being a father. At times moving, at times hilarious, this is vintage Auster, but with Auster allowing us closer to his own life than we have been allowed before. He walks the tightrope of genuine emotion and sentimentality, and impressively manages to avoid cliches and platitudes. There are experiences in this book to which we can all relate- either as children, or as parents. At times, the narrative is slow, but if you the reader are in no hurry, this book is full of both touching moments and thought provoking challenges as to what the true nature of family relationships might be. This is a book about family as only Auster could do it- experimental, but always heartfelt, eschewing sentimentality, but never emotionally cold. A must for both Auster fans and those new to his work.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Demob Happy on 7 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
The third in a trilogy of books I've read by Paul Auster recently - following 'The Music of Chance' and 'Mr Vertigo' - 'The Invention of Solitude' is a markedly different work, an autobiographical account divided into two parts: 'Portrait of an Invisible Man' and 'Book of Memory'. The former is a raw outpouring of reflections on the character of his recently-deceased father, an apparently impenetrable, aloof and stubborn man. The latter is a collection of loosely-connected writings on the subject of fatherhood, solitude, memory and chance, that seems to be rooted (though not explicitly) in the author's complex emotions regarding his father's death. Anecdotal and sometimes itself a little oblique, it encompasses literary and artistic criticism, and musings on the nature of memory, all written in the third person under the abbreviated pseudonym of 'A'.

In 'Portrait of an Invisible Man' we find the author at his most emotionally honest, describing the act of writing about his father and their relationship more painful than cathartic:

"There has been a wound, and I realize now that it is very deep. Instead of healing me as I thought it would, the act of writing has kept this wound open"

Elsewhere Auster reveals his frustration at the slowness of his progress in describing his father, expressing a:

"feeling of moving around in circles, of perpetual backtracking, of going off in many directions at once ... No sooner have I thought one thing than it evokes another thing, and then another thing, until there is an accumulation of detail so dense that I feel I am going to suffocate. Never before have I been so aware of the rift between thinking and writing".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Jarvis on 28 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very easy to read book but worth a 2nd read just to note some of the great sayings.I would recomend
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By HSJ Foster on 27 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I truly love Paul Auster's work and am always happy to wallow in his universe. This book is no exception. I always buy his work and actually that of his wife Siri Hustveydt. Park Slope here I come…...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's amazing how Paul Auster can mix Old Testament with personal facts, all dissected to the bare minimum, to a dimension where everything stops to make sense and hence takes control of you.
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