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Winter Journal Hardcover – 6 Sep 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571283209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571283200
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,058 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

Review

'Here are evocative moments of reflection, on the indignities of youth and encroaching old age, each expressed with elegance and honesty. Auster chastises himself for past follies and offers up fresh wisdom.' --Fiona Sturges, Independent on Sunday

'An examination of the emotions of a man growing old ... this book has much to recommend it, and Auster is unsparingly honest about himself.' --Financial Times

'A positive tale about a journey to artistic and domestic fulfilment.' --Irish Times

'An examination of the emotions of a man growing old ... this book has much to recommend it, and Auster is unsparingly honest about himself.' --Financial Times

'A positive tale about a journey to artistic and domestic fulfilment.' --Irish Times

Book Description

Paul Auster's unforgettable account of the abandonment of his family by his father, told from the point of view of his mother.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Justine Solomons on 5 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This review appeared originally on [...]

I'm a huge Paul Auster fan and was excited to be given a proof of Winter Journal by Faber at this year's London Book Fair. My love for Auster is so intense that, a bit like anyone you love, you forgive them their occasional abuses because you love them so much. There have been a few books over the years that I have liked less then others but I forgive him those for his astonishingly good books such as `In The Country of The Last Things' (which is pretty much my favourite book ever). Thankfully, I needn't have worred, Auster took very good care of me with Winter Journal.

This book was written over Auster's sixty-fourth winter. Deeply personally but written in the second person we the reader flit back and forth over time as if we were living Auster's experiences. This book doesn't have a narrative arc or chapters or even sections, we only become aware that time has passed towards the end when Auster notices that New York is still cold in March. However once we let go of a need for story we learn so much about Auster, including key emotional experiences such as the effect his mother's death had on him and also how watching a dance performance just before his father's death freed him from a crippling writer's block. In addition to these key experiences we also learn so much more about Auster for example: about his relationship with his body including, the last time he was `permitted' to wet himself as a child; his passion for women, including the many prostitutes he slept with, and then his key relationships.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Higgins A on 29 Oct. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I didn't like all of it, the 'houses I have lived in' became rather tiresome, and the occasional unnecessary attempt at brutal honesty wasn't always to my taste, but the sincerity and integrity of the writing was compellingly moving throughout. A stream of conciousness narrative as if a whole life was brought into perspective in a single process of thought: no chapters, or headings, just occasional flights of fancy as one thought replaced another temporarily. It was a book about thought and feeling. There were 'events' but it was their effect and their memory that was the writer's theme. Especially intense were the episodes concerning his mother, wife, and father-in-law - whose tacit love was clearly an acknowledgment of the heroism of ordinariness, the importance of the normal, and the tenderness of gesture. It was also about moments. Those fleeting pages of a life where a door might have opened to a different life, and the ever burning question of whether the path I chose was the right one. In Auster's case there is no doubt. If you want to understand why we feel as we do about people we love, read this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MYRNA HACKNEY on 26 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A keen fan of Paul Auster, his Winter Journal came from Amazon much earlier than I expected, and struck an instant chord with me. Young reviewers and critics may not realise that as you approach the winter years of your life you are very aware that you are going to lose your best friend, your constant companion through good times and bad - your own body and your own history. Your mind ranges over your life in no particular order and that is what Winter Journal does for Auster. A jewel of a book, joining his other non-fiction jewels. Read and think! Read and reflect! Enjoy and weep!
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By Alfred J. Kwak on 4 Oct. 2013
Format: Perfect Paperback
This quite passionate book is almost an autobiography written at the relatively tender age of 64 by an icon of American literature, but not quite. He is reticent about his two children and his sister, but quite open about the rest of both his parents' families short histories (and with a terrible family secret revealed only when he was in his early 20s). This reader is struck by PA's powers of memory and the clarity of his making sense of his life at different stages.
Another sign that this is not an autobiography is the near absence of references to what he is most famous for: a New York-based creator of works of art, mostly literature. Not a word about the challenge of the white page or about the books, poems and screenplays he wrote or the films he directed.
At another level this looks like a book of lists, about illnesses, injuries and other medical mishap. A list of all the houses/homes he has lived in, countries visited and for how long or about the number of US states he set foot in (40). A gold mine for future biographers. Towards the end of the book this listing habit returns with PA's favorite sweets, foods, soft drinks and stronger stuff. And his regrets about how harshly smoking has been restricted.
PA's turning point in life was meeting his wife of >30 years, Siri Hustvedt who has also become a highly respected novelist and essayist. PA quotes their daughter describing her identity as `Jewegian', reflecting her dad's Polish Jewish and mother's Norwegian Lutheran roots.
Find PA's title and final words too pessimistic. At 64 most people would rather view themselves as living in the Indian summer or autumn of their lives, not the start of winter. But his Wikipedia entry quotes him as saying that his drawer is empty, he has run out of ideas for another novel...
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