Home » USA » Paul Auster

Paul Auster


Anyone who doubts the declining literacy of book reviewers need only consider how the gabbiest of all prose styles is invariably praised as”lean,””spare,” even”minimalist.” I am referring, of course, to the Paul Auster School of Writing. (B R Myers: A Reader’s Manifesto)


Though totally cool in the United States, Paul Auster is super-cool in Europe, where he is often revered as one of the greatest living United States writers. Why? The fact that he speaks French and has translated several French works, particularly poetry, may help. However, I think that firstly the fact he has written what might be called detective novels might have put off some literary readers, while his overly intellectual approach will have put off others, while attracting him to Europeans who are more ready to accept this approach. Not least, his writing is sparse – I hesitate to use the pun austere – which also is more appreciated in Europe than the United States. However, whatever your nationality, Auster is a very fine writer and one you should definitely read, whatever B R Myers might think.

Paul Auster was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1947. His father was a landlord. His parents divorced when he was in a high school. He studied English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and both while at university and after graduating, spent much time in France. After college, he performed a variety of jobs, including working for the Census Bureau and working on an oil tanker. He married the writer Lydia Davis and they had a son David. The marriage did not last long, however. At this time he was translating and writing poetry. However, when his father died in 1979, he inherited some money which enabled him to work on longer, prose works. Back in the USA, he met and married the writer Siri Hustvedt.

His first published work which received critical attention was his memoir of his father, called The Invention of Solitude. However, it was the New York Trilogy, starting with City of Glass, that brought him critical fame. As well as fiction, poetry and essays, Auster has also written screenplays and directed a film. He was considered one of the foremost living United States novelists. He died in 2024.

Books about Paul Auster

Carsten Springer: A Paul Auster Sourcebook

Other links

Stillman’s Maze
Paul Auster
Paul Auster
Paul Auster (1947-)
Featured Author: Paul Auster
Case of the Brooklyn Symbolist
At Home With: Paul Auster; Chance of a Lifetime
I want to tell you a story
Cruel Universe – Adrian Gargett on the writing of Paul Auster
The art of exposure
Reflections on Glass
Paul Auster – My Five Most Important Books
Storytelling In Paul Auster’s Movies
Interview (together with Siri Hustvedt)


1974 Unearth (poetry)
1976 Wall Writing (poetry)
1977 Fragments From Cold (poetry)
1980 Facing the Music (poetry)
1980 White Spaces (poetry)
1982 The Art of Hunger (non-fiction)
1982 The Invention of Solitude (non-fiction)
1985 City of Glass (fiction)
1986 Ghosts (fiction)
1986 The Locked Room (fiction)
1987 In the Country of Last Things (fiction)
1988 Disappearances: Selected Poems (poetry)
1989 Moon Palace (fiction)
1990 Ground Work (poetry)
1990 The Music of Chance (fiction)
1992 The Art of Hunger: Essays, Prefaces, Interviews (non-fiction – contains the 1982 work as well as later work)
1992 Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story (fiction)
1992 Leviathan (fiction)
1994 Mr. Vertigo (fiction)
1995 Smoke & Blue in the Face (screenplay)
1995 Blue in the Face (screenplay)
1995 The Red Notebook (non-fiction)
1996 Why Write? (non-fiction)
1997 Hand to Mouth (memoir)
1985 Lulu on the Bridge (screenplay)
1998 Selected Poems (poetry)
1999 Timbuktu (fiction)
2002 The Book of Illusions (fiction)
2002 The Story of My Typewriter
2003 Oracle Night (fiction)
2004 Collected Poems (poetry)
2004 Reflections on a Cardboard Box (non-fiction)
2005 Collected Prose: Autobiographical Writings, True Stories, Critical Essays, Prefaces, and Collaborations with Artists (non-fiction) (non-fiction)
2005 The Brooklyn Follies (fiction)
2006 Travels in the Scriptorium (fiction)
2008 Man in the Dark (fiction)
2010 Sunset Park (fiction)
2010 Collected Screenplays
2012 Winter Journal (autobiography)
2013 Here & Now (with J S Coetzee)
2013 Report from the Interior (memoirs)
2017 4 3 2 1 (novel)
2019 Talking to Strangers: Selected Essays, Prefaces, and Other Writings, 1967-2017
2020 White Spaces: Selected Poems and Early Prose
2020 Groundwork : Autobiographical Writings 1979-2012
2023 Bloodbath Nation
2023 Baumgartner (novel)