Disappearance. Writer Paul Auster, lover of New York, died at the age of 77

He described New Yorkers like no other. Paul Auster, who has died aged 77 of cancer, is an author of novels, poems and films marked by New York and disoriented characters who take the reader on a dizzying existential journey.

Medici foreign price for Leviathan in 1993, Paul Auster is a respected writer in France, which he considers his “second country”.

Master trilogy

His “New York Trilogy,” published in 1987, launched him onto the international literary scene and definitively connected him to the big city he constantly reimagined in his books and films.

“Sometimes New York is the center of the story, sometimes just the periphery. New York, the city where I live and write, is an image that lives in my reality and in my fiction,” he said.

in City of glass, He returned AND A hidden room which make up a “trilogy”, its characters set out to find their identity as detectives in the skyscraper-filled labyrinth of Manhattan, where everything is just reflections and false pretenses.

Brooklyn, then Paris

It was in Newark, a suburb of New York, that Paul Auster was born in 1947 to parents of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. From a very young age he was attracted to this city, where he spent all his weekends. He moved there at the age of 18 to study French, Italian and British literature at Columbia University from 1965 to 1970.

He later anchored in Brooklyn, the family neighborhood where he celebrated Smoke and its continuation Brooklyn boogietwo films he directed with Wayne Wang. Smoke won the Silver Bear in Berlin (1995).

After his studies, he lived in Paris from 1971 to 1975. He lived in a maid’s room, met a prostitute who recited Baudelaire to him, and almost enrolled at the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies. He wrote scripts for silent films and translated Breton, Mallarmé, Michaux and Dupin. He perfected his French, which he spoke in a hoarse voice from the cigars he loved.

Broke, working on an oil tanker

A tall, hedonistic brunette with slicked-back hair and slightly bulging dark eyes appeals to women, but experiences several years of professional wandering, which she recounts in Devil by the tail. Revealhis first collection of poems appeared in the United States in 1974, but due to lack of sufficient income, he took odd jobs and embarked as a maintenance worker on an oil tanker.

An inheritance from his father, who died in 1979, allowed him to devote himself to writing. After divorcing writer Lydia Davis, with whom he had a son, he married American novelist Siri Hustvedt in 1981. It is the beginning of a new life.

The 1980s and the arrival of success

He publishes The invention of solitude (1982), an autobiographical novel in which he attempts to understand the personality of his father, an “invisible” figure who will inspire his characters struggling with a disturbing double. This is especially true in Moon Palace (1990), an initiation novel about an orphan that eventually brought him American recognition.

Paul Auster, an excellent connoisseur of narrative tricks, likes to play with the reader: puns between names, interplay, fragmented stories. Leviathan, Book of Illusions (2007) or even phenomenal 4321 (2018), blurs the lines between fiction and reality. Sometimes at the risk of being too confusing and annoying.

“We spend our time making up stories. We live with it…real and imaginary don’t matter. Thoughts are real, even thoughts about fictional things,” one of his characters explains Alone in the dark.

A Democrat, he decries, in this novel published in 2009, the eight Bush years in which America, since the Iraq War and 9/11, has fallen, as he says, “into a parallel world” through the evocation of an imaginary civil war narrated by a depressed insomniac.

Life is both beautiful and terrible and my job is to capture those moments. That is my mission as a writer. Nothing more.

He returns to the autobiographical story with Winter chronicles (2013) and Excursion inland (2014) decided “in the winter of his life” to piece together the puzzle of his existence through the description of his body’s mutations. “I want to try to show, make people feel what it’s like to be alive. Life is both beautiful and terrible and my job is to capture those moments. That is my mission as a writer. Nothing more “.

Son accused of child’s death

His son David, accused in April 2022 of involuntary manslaughter of his 10-month-old daughter, who died after being poisoned with fentanyl and heroin, himself died a few days later of an “accidental overdose”.

In the same year, he was diagnosed with cancer, according to his wife. Despite his illness, he finished the last book with a nostalgic tone, Baumgartner.

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