Thursday, September 16, 2010


Paul Auster is a great author, and now a man of American letters, winner of numerous awards -- well, he's here to stay. And that's a good thing.

But who is Paul Auster? In recent years, those critics who work in that in that air-tight, adjective laden atmosphere that materializes somewhere between the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books once a week have taken to his stygian, noirish scripts with fork and knife, feverishly speculating about which sauce to cover them in. (Old Fashioned? Pepper Spice? Neo-post-modern-noir?) Others come bearing not gifts but theories. Many believe he does not exist, hasn't existed, and that "Paul Auster," born February 3, 1947, etc., etc., is little more than a character or a trope in some charade about authors, authorship, that. (Admittedly, if does seem odd that a character called Paul Auster has appeared in a few of his novels. A lack of imagination perhaps?) Others conclude that he is a kind of translator of Nabokov -- reimagining from N.'s native Zemblan, of course -- who is ever-unearthing new manuscripts from some sodden cellar only he and N. knew of (Nabokov taught "Auster" at Columbia). Though this could only be true if he injected Nabokov's writing with measured doses of austerity, for the two -- lyrically, at least -- have little in common.

No, I'm just kidding about all this. I am Paul Auster. Or rather I'm Paul Auster's best friend and he's just died and an outline in his journal indicated I should write this blog. Really.

Anyways: Auster's newest, just out in paperback, Invisible (Picador, $12.00) is incredible and asks just the same questions as I have, though of course, more assiduously, wonderfully, deliciously. Read it!

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