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Here and Now: Letters (2008-2011)

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  564 ratings  ·  102 reviews
The high-spirited correspondence between "New York Times" bestselling author Paul Auster and Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee
Although Paul Auster and J. M. Coetzee had been reading each other's books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis an
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 7th 2013 by Viking Books (first published 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,314)
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Edgar Trevizo
No sé qué sentir de este libro. Para mí Coetzee es el mejor escritor que he leído, el más cercano a mí y uno de los más brillantes, lúcidos y constantes. En cambio Auster fue un escritor de mi temprana juventud al que admiré, pero no por su brillo intelectual, sino por su imaginación, que luego me decepcionaría. La amistad es misteriosa, y en este caso me asombra que se haya dado entre estos dos personajes. El nivel intelectual de ambos es muy disparejo, Auster no se compara en ello con Coetzee, ...more
Beka Sukhitashvili
კარგი იყო, საინტერესო. მომეწონა ცოტა ქაოსური, მიმოწერაში განელებული თემები, რომლებსაც ზოგჯერ არც კი უბრუნდებოდნენ საპასუხო წერილში, თითქოს არც არსებულიყოს.
პოლ ოსტერის ერთი წერილი, ჩემი პოსტის ინპირაციის წყარო გახდა, სადაც ის საუბრობს მეხსიერებაზე, თუ როგორ აღვიქვამთ ხელოვნების ნაწარმოებს და რაღაცა დროის შემდეგ ხელმეორედ ნახვისას, მოლოდინი გვეცვლება. "როგორ შეგვექმნა მასზე ასეთი მცდარი შთაბეჭდილება?" ეს კითხვა გასდევს ჩემს პოსტსაც - ადამიანის მეხსიერება ხელოვნების ნაწარმოების მიმართ ანუ როგორ გვე
What a lovely subway read. Neat little chunks of insight.
I have a special fondness for their sign-offs. Nothing special, usually "best" or "all the best" - but especially Coetzee's tend to come after some sort of bleak pronouncement.
Something like, "...all in all, humanity is vile. -- All the Best, John"
I think if you follow the "progress" of the sign-offs, they begin to approach one another. Auster's start more fawningly ("yours in friendship" or something like that, after a personal wish to me
Michael Bryson
When I was reading this, I found it compelling. I wanted to keep going, find out how it "ended," but it (of course) never really ended. It just ended. It had, a la Julian Barnes, the sense of an ending.

As I was reading it, I liked it. Upon reflection, not so much.

My disappointments outnumber my pleasure points. As such, dear book, I think we should break up. It's probably me, not you, but this is a review of you.

Thus, I had admiration for each of these authors before I read their correspondence,
My gut reaction is, why would anyone want to publish letters when he or she is alive?

They, letters that is, are things that maybe scholars will compile years after an artist's death, due to the interest in the mundane of that person's, the artist's, life. At that point the art has become so great, so mythic that the artist becomes an object of interest. Thus, the diary entries become curious; maybe we laymen will be able to gain greater insight into the artistic process, into inspirations, into
Una amena conversación entre dos amigos - Paul y John (la faceta de hombres de las letras la guardan para los numerosos viajes que los llevan al otro lado del mundo)- sobre la crisis económica, la Primavera Árabe, la competición deportiva, el cine, los hábitos alimenticios, las nuevas tecnologías ...
Chris Dietzel
Unless you're a fan of Paul Auster and/or J.M. Coetzee, or enjoy reading authors reflect on their careers and thought processes, this book will probably not be very interesting. But if you do fall into the above category, this collection of the correspondence between the two authors is truly fascinating. Over the course of four years the two men share their philosophies on the nature of the world, give each other ideas for future books and discuss inspirations for previous books, share concerns ...more
I really enjoyed this recent exchange of letters between writers Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee. (Auster is the urbane Brooklynite with a near cult following for his novels and films; and Coetzee is the quite serious and a bit older South African Nobelist now living in Australia.)

Theirs is a recent friendship, commencing only in 2008 and the letters flowed soon after. Not via e-mail, mind you, but real letters by typewriter or penned sent across the world. Auster (1947) and Coetzee (1940) several
an epistolary exchange of two literary luminaries, here and now collects three years of written correspondence between novelists j.m. coetzee and paul auster. through a series of mostly brief, yet engaging letters (often faxed!), the two authors offer, share, and challenge each other's thoughts, feelings, opinions, and insights on a range of subjects, including friendship, sports, politics, language, the banking crisis, names, books and reviews, film, travel, aging, morality, and the israeli/pal ...more
Kent Winward
The best way to read this correspondence between Auster and Coetzee is a little bit at a time, just like a real correspondence. I found myself frustrated and not being able to enter into the fray and give my own views on the topics they were discussing, but alas, this is just a book that made me crave that kind of literary connection with someone else. I'm fortunate to have my wife as a novelist (as Auster), but the correspondence with the "other" and that connection is something I find myself a ...more
John Damaso
Auster and Coetzee in the course of three years of regular correspondence seem to continue a friendship that was started certainly earlier than 2008. Auster strikes upon the expression "absent other" near the end of the collection -- "a kind of adult cousin to the imaginary friends little children invent for themselves" -- to describe his relationship with his South African penpal (in Australia) and the imagination that draws a picture of how his friend is, writes, looks. They are writing to and ...more
Ben Lainhart
Auster and Coetzee began corresponding as a way to spark creative ideas in one another. They propose topics and then discuss them through to the end. They are usually more in agreement than not, which can get a little tiring towards the end. Nevertheless. it's still an interesting read and it is fun to get (somewhat) into the mind and friendship between two of the best living authors today.
Albert  Gubler
I love letters. I love everything about them: receiving them, reading them, answering them or writing them.

So, this book caught my attention right away when I last visited the Bookshop. After all, I've read and enjoyed some of Paul Auster's work. His collaborator, John Coetzee, has won the nobel prize in literature. After reading a few letter collections of politicians (most recently JFK), the author's correspondence intrigued me. And the two gentlemen don't disappoint.

Their writing is elegant,
Janet Roberts
The two authors had been reading each other's books for years and met at a literary festival in Australia in February 2008. Coetzee suggested they "strike sparks" off each other through correspondence. Auster does not use the word processor, so Siri Hustvedt his wife had to communicate the emails, that accompanied the postal correspondence. The exchange is described as being more rigorous than if they had met each other at dinner parties in Brooklyn. The two writers seemed incredibly different t ...more
Petra Kruijt
A highly enjoyable book of letters by two renowned authors, and yet before this I was only familiar with Auster's work. Paul Auster and John Coetzee exchange letters since 2008 and their letters up to 2011 are bundled in Here and now. They discuss a wide variety of topics in a natural way, as it is with letters (the best means of corresponding, it has been proven again to me). Some topics were very interesting, others not so much, but with the back-and-forth flow, I could hardly stop reading. I ...more
Jordi Via
Me ha gustado, sí. Pero creo que es un trabajo incompleto. Faltan textos a los que hacen referencia y algunas fotos también habrían estado bien. Para ser los dos tan defensores de lo "antiguo", han publicado algo parecido a emails cortos o tweets...
Sontag said that every great writer is: 1)a critic 2) a stylist 3) a fool. I'd say that Coetzee is more 1 + 2, Auster is 2 + 3. They both use austere Beckett-like prose, and I think that's what initially made them like each other's writings. I've been a long time reader of both and found it curious how they became friends due to mutual admiration. I've always found Coetzee's Slow Man similar to various works of Auster (City of Glass, Ghosts, Oracle Night). They apparently began to write to each ...more

2,5 stars.
I am afraid this 'project' has nothing in common with (the joy of reading) genuine correspondence.
Sensación de voyeur,; de haber hecho algo moralmente reprobable. Demasiado personales, pero atractivas.
Es como colarse a escuchar sus conversaciones. Varios puntos interesantes...
Carlos Ardavin
The beauty of this book resides in the possibility it offers to see the inner workings and thinking of two talented writers. Before reading it I considered Coetzee a superior intelligence (mostly based on his novels); after I finished the last page, I changed my mind: now I see Auster as a man of letters better equiped than his friend to comprehend the complexities of our reality. In my view, the only dissapointment relates to their political comments (especially on USA politics), some of which ...more
Al Zaquan
This was a disappointment. I'm a huge fan of Auster and I've read quite a number of his books. As with any author who has written and published as much as he had, the quality of his books go up and down, but I'm always compelled by his voice as a writer. Here's a collection of letters! Right after has memoir! Another chance to know the person behind the book better, I thought. Alas, these letters come from a friendship that is more intellectual than personal, there is so much emotional distance ...more
I really enjoyed reading the correspondence between these two authors, specially because Paul Auster is one of my favorite (and his wife Siri also). In addition, I rejoice to see how we agree on several topics, above all the whole fact of moving the Israelis in Minnesota, but surely it would be more correct to say that it is I who think like them and not the other. It was also quite interesting the backgrounds that the authors have provided for some of their works,but as far as I had already rea ...more
Perhaps it smacked too much of a marketing conceit: correspondence of two well-known authors available to release to the world. The fact that it was a three year exchange of letters begun just a few years ago and that no one was clamoring for the secrets contained within, those keys to the kingdoms of their imaginations via shared thoughts, was one of those nuances that is often lost to marketing departments.
A lot is forgiven in correspondence between intimates. While a particular type of writi
Copy received through Goodreads’ First Reads program.

In 2008, novelists J.M. Coetzee and Paul Auster met for the first time and began exchanging letters to build a friendship and in an effort “to strike sparks off each other.” Those letters, which begin with initially stilted discussions of friendship, writing, and sports (e.g., Auster asking if Coetzee would be interested in discussing sports, and then providing several proposed themes that a discussion of sports could touch upon), and eventua
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

Sabiendo que venimos de aquí(; en este segundo post voy a poner alguno de esos momentos que considero reseñables por algún hecho en particular y que paso a relatar sin más dilación:
Me encanta la crónica espontánea que realiza Coetzee para referirse a las organizaciones de eventos culturales en Italia, reflejo de una mentalidad, la mediterránea, que, a pesar de lo caótico que pueda ser superficialmente,
This book is a Goodreads Giveaway.

I have bought several books of author letters in the past and have not read a single one. I think I have discovered why. Really, when you read letters between two people, it is almost better to know what they are discussing, for it to be current. At first, I wondered why anyone would want to read the letters of two current authors (and really, who writew letters like this anymore anyway) but now it makes a little more sense.

Paul Auster (who I haven't read) and
Some ask why? Why do we care what paul auster and j m Coetzee corresponded over from 2008-2011? And granted, this is no classic epistles like the wonderful Durrell miller letters , much here is pretty tame stuff, about sports, family, taboos, and lots of times one or the other starts a thread but it gets left in the dust and on to something else. That;s kind of a shame.
But also, a reader can find some really interesting tidbits in these letters, like abo
Brian Wadman
A three year correspondence between 2 well-known intellectuals – J.M. Coetzee and Paul Auster. Coetzee is the more impressive figure due to the quality of his arguments – it seems that Auster defers to Coetzee in a number of ways. The topics they discuss are intriguing – from the nature of friendship, why people are addicted to sports, language, politics, culture, memory, the economic crisis and foreign affairs.
A few nuggets of wisdom from both, but this line from Coetzee stands out “it is naïve
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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
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“განა კითხვა უხილავის საკუთარი თვალით დანახვის ხელოვნება არ არის? განა კითხვის სილამაზე იმ სიჩუმეში არაა, შენ გარშემო რომ ისადგურებს, სანამ ამბავში მთლიანად ხარ ჩაძირული? განა ამ დროს შენში ავტორის ხმა არ იწყებს ჟღერას, რათა სხვა დანარჩენი ხმა და ხმაური გადაფაროს?” 4 likes
“If you are not fully in the game you are playing, however, you are not truly playing it.” 1 likes
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