Winter Journal
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Winter Journal

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  2,447 ratings  ·  370 reviews
From the bestselling novelist and author of The Invention of Solitude, a moving and highly personal meditation on the body, time, and language itself

"That is where the story begins, in your body, and everything will end in the body as well.

Facing his sixty-third winter, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster sits down to write a history of his body and its sensatio...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Henry Holt And Co (first published 2011)
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The New York Trilogy by Paul AusterMoon Palace by Paul AusterThe Book of Illusions by Paul AusterThe Brooklyn Follies by Paul AusterInvisible by Paul Auster
Best Paul Auster Books
15th out of 21 books — 55 voters
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas by Tom RobbinsA Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'NanBright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerneySelf-Help by Lorrie MooreStolen by Lucy Christopher
Books Narrated in the Second Person
10th out of 20 books — 22 voters


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Community Reviews

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Jacob J.

You think about that already, at twenty-five, how many people have not made it to this point, and what’s more, how many people were never born at all; how many single cells who, if only they had won the genetic lottery instead of you, may have written something more timeless than The Odyssey, discovered elusive cures for what ails humanity, or on the flip side, to be fair, destroyed more lives than Pol Pot. It is useless to speculate on these matters because time is unconcerned with what might h...more
Jill
The first hint we have of what Paul Auster has in store for us is the title itself: Winter Journal, not Winter Memoir. Memoirs – the best of them – are not personal narratives, but rather plot lines or themes that bind moments together. Journals – or diaries – are far more intimate and, one might say, confessional.

The second hint is the tense that Paul Auster uses: second person, not first. Throughout the journal, he consistently uses “you”; it is the author having a conversation with his younge...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Paul Auster, I am almost sure, hasn't read the last book I reviewed here at goodreads: "Mental Efficiency" by Arnold Bennett, despite his boast that he and his wife have thousands of books on their shelves. Having reached the age of 64, and with a seemingly constant intimation of mortality (HIS mortality), Paul Auster steps aside for a while to look at himself and the life he has lived so far. He quotes Joubert: "The end of life is bitter." And then another one by Joubert: "One must die lovable...more
Cynthia
“Winter Journal is written in the second person. Though I can understand why he wrote his memoir this way it felt awkward to have the word ‘you’ in almost every sentence. Writing in the second person just sounds contrived to me. I know a lot of people dislike it but I thought “Winter Journal” would have read much easier in the first person which I believe is more conventional for personal essays. Knowing Auster that’s probably exactly why he didn’t take the path most traveled.

I enjoyed his refer...more
Tony
WINTER JOURNAL. (2012). Paul Auster. **.
I used to be a reader and collector of Paul Auster’s works. Now I use my local library’s system and am just a reader after my disappointment in his last few books. It looks as though I’m on my way to not becoming a reader any more, too. This, his latest, is his stab at an autobiography/life journal written in the second person. He starts off with his earliest memories – admitting that they might be memories told to him by his relatives – and moves on up t...more
M. Sarki
http://msarki.tumblr.com/post/7535931...

There were never any kids in my grade school with missing limbs. Actually, I don’t remember any throughout my entire K-12 educational ordeal. Looking back all these years hence, the only “physical” disabilities I can remember were a couple kids older than me sporting the metal leg braces because of childhood polio or something of the sort. It wasn’t something we asked about or stared at too intently. These boys wore these braces for a few years and then it...more
Bob Mustin
You pick up memoir such as this one expecting...what? A life laid out chronologically? The failures of parenting - yours and that of your parents? Confessions and dirty linen? The titillation of romantic escapades? Saucy comments about other writers, editors, or reviewers? The summation of a life lived well or poorly?

Auster gives you some of that, but what stands out to you is the writing: the fluid, run-on style in which sentences can last half a page, paragraphs that go on interminably, but wi...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
"I tuoi piedi scalzi sul pavimento freddo mentre scendi dal letto e vai alla finestra. Hai sessantaquattro anni. Fuori l'aria è grigia, quasi bianca, il sole non si vede. Ti domandi: quante mattine restano?
Una porta si è chiusa. Un'altra si è aperta.
Sei entrato nell'inverno della tua vita."

Paul Auster è uno scrittore affermato. Ma il successo non lo esime dalla sua umanità. L'onestà intellettuale gli impone di raccontarsi per quel che è. Non ci sono abbellimenti. Lui è un essere umano, casualme...more
Israel Carlock
Es el primer libro que leo de este autor, y la experiencia ha sido enriquecedora. No pienso que haya leído a un extraño, a alguien ajeno, la sensacion se asemeja más a encontrarse a un hijo de vecino del que no habia sabido nunca nada ni preguntado nada y de buenas a primeras cuenta de forma personal el transcurrir de su vida, sin más interés de compartir lo humano que todos tenemos. Hace que el lector se sienta dentro del protagonista y del autor, de los dos a la vez. Es una prosa simple, senci...more
Paul Gleason
Let me begin by stating the obvious: Paul Auster is one of the greatest living writers of English prose. His sentences are so good that they're almost contradictory. They contain both a seamless architectonic structure AND a musicality that make ANY book that he writes a privilege to read and a reminder of the possibilities of the English language.

Winter Journal is another of Auster's nonfiction texts - and, to my mind, it's his second best, right behind the absolutely brilliant and life-changin...more
Ahmad
خاطرات زمستان
پل استر: «سه گانه نیویورک»، «هیولا»، «مردی در تاریکی»، «مون پالاس»، «کشور آخرین‌ها»، «کتاب اوهام»، «شب پیشگویی» و ... از رمان‌های ایشان هستند. پیش از این کتاب دو بیوگرافی و زندگینامه از خود منتشر کرده، که سومین آن‌ها همین کتاب است. دو زندگینامه پیشین، «بخور و نمیر»، و «اختراع انزوا» درباره اشتباه‌ها و شکست‌های نویسنده بودند، اما سومین زندگینامه خود‌نوشت، درباره گذر عمر و نزدیک شدن «استر» به سال‌های پیری شت. او زمان را رقیبی بی‌رحم می‌داند. و در کتاب، نگاهی به ذهن، بدن و خلاقیت خویش،...more
Kitty-Wu
¿Pero cómo te va a gustar Paul Auster a ti, si me escribe a mí? Escribe para mí, me cuenta cosas a mi, de la manera que sabe que me gusta, con una intimidad especial… es por eso que me gusta Paul Auster. Es por eso que me gusta escriba lo que escriba. Y si encima escribe sobre si mismo, pues me gusta dos veces más. Porque también me gusta como persona (lo poco que se puede saber de una persona a través de lo leído en entrevistas y sobretodo, el rastro que deja de si mismo en sus libros).

En esta...more
Mehran Najafi
گه‌گاه عقاب راه گم کرده‌ای بر بام می‌نشست، اما بیش‌تر مرغان دریایی، کلاغ‌ها و سارها به دیدن‌تان می‌آمدند. یک روز عصر یک کبوتر سرخ‌رنگ بیرون پنجره‌ات نشست، (به رنگ ماهی سالامون بود با لکه‌های سپید) جوجه‌ای نوپرواز و زخمی که بی‌پروا و کنجکاو بود و دور چشمان عجیبش خطی سرخ‌رنگ داشت. پس از اینکه تو و نامزدت یک هفته از او مراقبت کردید، آنقدر خوب شد که بتواند بار دیگر پرواز کند، اما تا چندین ماه هر روز به بام آپارتمان باز می‌گشت. عاقبت نامزدت برایش نامی برگزید؛ جویی. معنی‌اش این بود که جوبیی کبوتر خانگ...more
Oscar
Más que una novela biográfica (que lo es), este ‘Diario de invierno’ de Paul Auster es un compendio de recuerdos, vivencias y pensamientos, que como si de postales se tratase, son relatados de manera fragmentada pero apasionante.

Paul Auster escribió este diario en el invierno 2010-11, y lo terminó coincidiendo con su cumpleaños que es el 3 de febrero, cuando cumplió 64 años. ‘Diario de invierno’ es por tanto una revisión de lo que hasta ese momento fue la vida de Auster. No se trata de una biogr...more
Jim
I hadn't been familiar with Paul Auster's work before I heard an interview with Terry Gross on 'Fresh Air' - but I've found a new soul mate and I shall be reading more.

'Winter Journal' is an entertaining, somber, funny and sensitive memoir, with philosophical ruminations that address a wide range of episodes and aspects of his life from childhood to the present, through his world travels and many addresses: from soul-shaking, life-altering chance encounters, horrible accidents, illnesses, and ne...more
Roberto
At the age of 64 Auster decides to write a journal about his own physical history, as if his own body were writing a memoir of being Paul Auster, which is quite touching don't you think? He recalls the cuts, bruises, kisses, panic attacks, intimacies, illnesses, and near fatalities that have made up his physical life. He recalls the houses and the rooms he has inhabited. Lots of snow storms. It is a book swamped with deaths, ponderings on his own death, remembrances of his mother's death in part...more
Anna
This was the first novel that I have read by Paul Auster even though I have always been intrigued by his other books. I enjoyed Winter Journal and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is intrigued/curious or would like to know more about Paul Auster. Initially, I was a little put off about the style of writing as he does write this novel in second person. While it is a little disconcerting at first, I quickly found myself adjusting. My favourite part of the novel is probably when he was g...more
Doreen
Aug 15, 2012 Doreen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: elle
I'd never really cared for Paul Auster before this book. He was a big favorite of an ex of mine, but said ex tried to get me to read Haruki Murakumi first and that ended poorly. Also, I was aware that Auster and his wife, Siri Hustvedt, formed a mutual admiration society, and I found the one book I read of hers, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, to make for dreary reading.

As a matter of fact, the parts of Winter Journal that I found least enthralling were the ones where he quoted her at length. It's...more
Dave
Paul Auster was my favorite author when I was in my 20s, especially when I was living in New York City. Reading his stories made me feel like someone nearby understood my loneliness, or maybe even that someone felt worse than I did. His characters often took extreme actions that frightened and fascinated me.

Now, 20 years later, we both have aged, and I read this journal in a weekend (far more rapidly than I usually read). "Winter Journal" provided a window into Auster's life that was both compel...more
Piperitapitta

Inventar(iar)si

Sei uno scrittore di successo, hai sessantaquattro anni, la tua vita ormai scivola dolcemente come una barca a remi nelle acque tranquille e prive di onde di un lago del Vermont.
Poi un giorno inizi a guardarti indietro, a voltare la testa, e decidi d'un tratto di mettere un po' di ordine tra le tue cose, di catalogare, chissà perché, la tua esistenza.
«Vivere per raccontarla», disse e scrisse Gabriel Garcia Marquez nella sua autobiografia, e tu sei indubbiamente uno che può raccont...more
Fox
I won this book through the first-reads program.

"Impressive" is the word that came immediately into my mind when I first finished this book. Winter Journal is just what the title says it is - a rather poetic memoir about the author (author: Paul Auster) as he enters the sixty fourth year of his life.

The scope of the memoir is large, and its writing is largely poetic in nature. He follows no particular chronology, but rather writes in a stream-of-conscious. One incident recalls another, and slowl...more
Uwe Hook
I found this memor very interesting in many sections and a bit boring in others - but the interesting parts really make it worth the read. It is like a dairy and jumps from one subject to another. It is very touching to follow his aging process and he can write beautifully. At first it was disconcerting that he uses the second person (you) instead of the first person (I) but it quickly seems very natural. I orginally had a bit of trouble getting into it and put it down for a while but eventually...more
Judy
I am a fan of Paul Auster's writing (The Brooklyn Follies, I Thought My Father was God, etc.) so I eagerly snapped up this book. However, I find myself conflicted. Written in his mid-60s, Auster reflects on his life and revisits memories, including those that bring pain as well as those that are more pleasurable. Like true memories, the recollections flow with no regard to time or space. Last week, his children, a childhood accident, his first marriage, incidents in high school years, the memori...more
John
Alas This Isn’t “Angela’s Ashes”

“Winter Journal” is replete with Paul Auster’s exceptional prose; a memoir that will remind his most devoted fans of his fiction. However, for those seeking to understand his literary craft, they won’t find it in this mercifully terse memoir. In a year that has seen the publication of very good to great autobiographical essay collections from the likes of Rick Moody (“On Celestial Music: And Other Adventures in Listening”) and William Gibson (“Distrust That Parti...more
René  Llatas Trejo
Como si no hubiera leído nada de él y no tuviera idea de su existencia, como si hubiera encontrado uno de sus libros abandonado en una playa, en un descampado, en la banca de un parque, o como si lo hubiera elegido al azar en una feria de libro viejo, en una librería, en la casa de un amigo: los libros que vienen a nosotros por una fatalidad, que muchas veces me ha sucedido, voy a hablar de Diario de invierno, el libro de Paul Auster publicado por Anagrama.

Entonces me encuentro con un escritor q...more
Jim
I enjoyed this memoir written in second-person to himself. Auster looked back at his life during the winter he turned 64 - hence the title.

If you are a man of a certain age, like myself, reaching one's 40th, 50th, and 60th years give you reason to pause and try to make sense of how you got here and where you've been.

I'm 14 years younger than Auster, but I was born just 30 miles north of him and lived a very similar childhood. In many ways, his story is nearly my own. The names and events vary, o...more
Zazou
Mijn eerste kennismaking met Auster. Misschien niet het meest handige boek om mee te beginnen! Ik kan niet zeggen dat ik me er doorheen gesleept heb, maar erg enthousiast was ik nou ook weer niet.

Om te beginnen stoorde het me heel erg dat ik een autobiografie las die in de tweede persoon enkelvoud is geschreven. Als een verhaal over jezelf gaat, waarom zou je dan geen "ik " gebruiken?

En daarnaast vond ik het niet prettig dat er eindeloze zinnen in voorkwamen. Zinnen van soms een halve bladzij la...more
Sandra Van den Bosch
Geweldig mooi boek! Zalige schrijfstijl en wel fijn om in zijn leven binnen te mogen kijken. Ook heel schoon hoe hij de simpelste dingen toch op één of andere manier héél speciaal kan maken. Heb ervan genoten van begin tot eind!
" Holding your infant children in your arms.
Holding your wife in your arms.
Your bare feet on the cold floor as you climb out of bed and walk to the window. You are sixty-four years old. Outside, the air is gray, almost white, with no sun visible. You ask yourself: How man...more
Heidi
Paul Auster has much to teach aspiring memoirists.

For one thing, he makes illuminating lists. His entire memoir is a list of loosely connected vignettes and isolated memories, which he sometimes corrals into sub-lists that share a defining characteristic, like his list of the 21 places he's lived during his lifetime, who he was and who he was bedding at each domicile.

I enjoyed his story design, especially the list that recounts all the things his hands have done in his life so far (in homage to...more
Anna Maria Ballester Bohn
A strangely stirring book for me. I definitely liked it better than the last couple of fiction books I read by the same author. This is honest, but the occasional brutality is tempered by humor and tenderness. Can't I find truth in fiction anymore?
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  • How to Read a Novelist
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Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Report from the Interior, Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, the Prix Médicis Étranger, the Independent Spirit Award, and the Premio Napoli. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Ac...more
More about Paul Auster...
The New York Trilogy The Brooklyn Follies The Book of Illusions Moon Palace Invisible

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“You think it will never happen to you, that it cannot happen to you, that you are the only person in the world to whom none of these things will ever happen, and then, one by one, they all begin to happen to you, in the same way they happen to everyone else.” 43 likes
“You can't see yourself. You know what you look like because of mirrors and photographs, but out there in the world, as you move among your fellow human beings, whether strangers or friends or the most intimate beloveds, your own face is invisible to you. You can see other parts of yourself, arms and legs, hands and feet, shoulders and torso, but only from the front, nothing of the back except the backs of your legs if you twist them into the right position, but not your face, never your face, and in the end - at least as far as others are concerned - your face is who you are, the essential fact of your identity. Passports do not contain pictures of hands and feet. Even you, who have lived inside your body for sixty-four years now, would probably be unable to recognize your foot in an isolated photograph of that foot, not to speak of your ear, or your elbow, or one of your eyes in close-up. All so familiar to you in the context of the whole, but utterly anonymous when taken piece by piece. We are all aliens to ourselves, and if we have any sense of who we are, it is only because we live inside the eyes of others.” 16 likes
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