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The Invention of Solitude
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The Invention of Solitude

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  3,918 ratings  ·  186 reviews
In this debut work by New York Times-bestselling author Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy), The Invention of Solitude, a memoir, established Auster’s reputation as a major new voice in American writing. His moving and personal meditation on fatherhood is split into two stylistically separate sections. In the first, Auster reflects on the memories of his father who was a di...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Penguin Books (first published 1982)
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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 AusterOracle Night by Paul Auster
Best Paul Auster Books
11th out of 21 books — 64 voters
Patrimony by Philip RothThe Invention of Solitude by Paul AusterFun Home by Alison BechdelMy Father's Fortune by Michael FraynFather and Son by Edmund Gosse
Father Memoirs
2nd out of 24 books — 9 voters

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Jan 16, 2008 Five rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: artfags
Shelves: favorites
At first, "The Invention of Solitude" had me thinking, “oh god…this is the ultimate ‘My (Famous) Upper-Middle/Ruling Class Parent/s Was Cold/Uber-Religious/Absent/Drunk Which Is Why I Chose to Live off My Inheritance in [Insert European City Name Here] While I Write this Amazing Memoir’ memoir.” Luckily, that (ahem) banal plot quickly morphs into a critical ancillary function supporting the memoir’s exploration of memory and its effect on knowing, story-telling and understanding.

"The Invention"...more
Quân Khuê
Khởi đầu của khởi đầu

“Theo tôi nhà văn thế nào cũng phải có một lần quyết định, mình sẽ trở thành nhà văn” – Paul Auster nói trong bài trả lời phỏng vấn nhà báo Hungary Lévai Balázs (Thế giới là một cuốn sách mở – Giáp Văn Chung dịch, Nhã Nam & NXB Văn Học, 2009). Từ chỗ là một người mê đọc sách, 16 tuổi Paul Auster đã quyết định trở thành người sáng tạo ra những cuốn sách. Thế nhưng ông chỉ có thể chính thức tập trung viết văn được sau cái chết của cha. Mất mát đó, thật tréo ngoe, có ý nghĩ...more
I have always like Paul Auster's novels and thought I would give his autobiographical meditation on memory, "The Invention of Solitude," a try. My interest was also attracted to this work because the first section concerns his relationship with his father, a topic that always intrigues me (I had a powerful and unforgettable father that shaped my life in ways I probably still don't entirely understand). In the end, I found this book rewarding. Auster's portrayal of a father who was largely a pose...more
Book II: The Book of Memory (from The Invention of Solitude*) Paul Auster paperback

Whenever I bought this, apparently I only read the first half about his father's passing, and assumed the second half was about him having a son, which it kinda is, but amongst lots of other things. But for whatever reason I didn't ever start that part so this is like unearthing a new lost Auster book (I have yet to read Brooklyn Follies or Travels in the Scriptorium, but from my understanding they are in Timbuktu...more
M. Sarki
Granted, the first section dealing with the death of his father was nothing short of amazing. I loved it as have most who have read it and felt it necessary to say something about their personal experience. And yes, the second section, The Book of Memory did focus on his son Daniel and I think he used Daniel as a conduit in which to enable his own act of recollection. The second section dealt with his marriage and divorce from his first wife, his time living in France, the mirrors and rhymes of...more
Paul Auster’s book was mentioned in something else I was reading; I liked the title, so I made a note of it in my day planner to put on hold at the library. (The older I get, the more I realize that there’s no point in assuring yourself that you’ll remember something; chances are, you won’t. It’s better to make a note of it before it fades completely from your mind.)

The first part, Portrait of an Invisible Man was fascinating; the second part, The Book of Memory, not so much.

You know what the fi...more
Quang Khuê
Calvino trong cuốn sách nhỏ có tên Palomar đã kể một câu chuyện trong hàng loạt các câu chuyện suy ngẫm ngắn khiến tôi thích thú. Với nó, hành trình bị bỏ quên của một chiếc dép đơn độc và mối dây kết nối giữa nó với Paloma khiến người ta nghĩ ngay đến những ngẫu nhiên bị bỏ quên. Paloma khi mua phải một đôi dép (mà cả hai chiếc đều thuộc về các đôi dép khác) đã nhanh chóng suy tư đến những mối dây kết nối bất chấp thời gian và không gian, nơi chỉ có những hồi tưởng và liên kết vô hình là khả dĩ...more
Andrew Smith
A game of two halves: first half excellent; second half poor.
The first part, Portrait of an Invisible Man, is written shortly after the death of his father and is the author’s account of his recollections of the man and his rather distant relationship with him. Sometimes sad but also amusing in parts, I found this part of the book interesting, enlightening and (as always with Auster) superbly written.
The second part, The Book of Memory, is supposed to be a reflection of the author as a father to...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
نگاه بسیار زیبایی به پیرامونش دارد «پل استر». باید چنان نگاه کنم که ایشان میکاوند. ایشان به رویدادهای ساده، خوب خوب مینگرند. رویدادهایی را که بارها تماشا کرده، به سادگی از کنارش بگذشته ام. «استر» انزوا را، خوب خوب برانداز کرده است، با ایشان موافقم، برایم لذتبخش بود. ا. شربیانی
Asma awadh
بول أوستر كتب هذا الكتاب تحت تأثير وفاة والده، كانت كالصدمة بالنسبة له ﻷنه رحل بهدوء وحيداً من دون أحد. أخذ أوستر يبحث عن الأسباب التي أدت إلى هذه الحالة أو كما أطلق عليها "العزلة". كانت البداية مع تاريخ العائلة وجد أوستر قصة مشوقة (مأساوية) وهي مقتل جده علي يد زوجته (جدة أوستر) تلك المرأة الغريبة الأطوار والتي ظلت تربي أبنائها، والد أوستر وأخوته، بصرامة شديدة كانت تحشر أنفها في كل صغيرة وكبيرة في حياتهم جعلت من والد أوستر ذو شخصية معزولة نوعاً ما.
القسم الثاني من الكتاب أصبح يتحدث عن عزلة بول أو...more
This book has two parts. In “Portrait of an Invisible Man” Auster begins writing about his father just weeks after his unexpected death. He writes “If, while he was alive, I kept looking for him, kept trying to find the father who was not there, now that he is dead I still feel as though I must go on looking for him”. A unequivocable FIVE stars for this rendering of his father!

In the second half, “The Book of Memory", Auster (I think with the idea of making himself, as father, knowable to his o...more
The first section of Paul Auster’s 'The Invention of Solitude' is a moving meditation on fatherhood. 'Portrait of an Invisible Man' gives expression to Auster’s feelings following the death of his father. Auster’s memories of his father are fragmentary. Auster writes to save his elusive father’s life from vanishing with him. The account is a brief scrap-book like collection of miniature essays, incomplete thoughts and even lists of unconnected memories. There is a strong emphasis throughout both...more
Frank Jude
I can’t say I’ve re-read many memoirs in my reading life. Perhaps only this one, The Invention of Solitude, by Paul Auster. In fact, this reading is the third time I’ve read this beautiful evocation of memory itself; an easier read than Proust, for sure! I was so moved the first time I read this back in 1991, that I wrote a screenplay using the title.

Though The Invention of Solitude precedes The New York Trilogy, Auster’s first novelistic fiction published, it’s interesting reading the memoir af...more
This is Auster's first non-fiction work, and when I first opened it, I was curious to see how it would differ from his very distinct voice in fiction. The answer, not a lot. In fact if I were told that this was yet another of his early short novels, I could easily believe it. Auster is often a character in his own fiction, protagonists share his name, his vocation, his hometown and his circumstances. Reviewers often note seemingly important correspondences between the names of wives and children...more
I'm wavering between 3 and 5 stars, so picked 4. The first part, titled "Portrait of an Invisible Man" is fabulous. It's the first 69 pages where Auster, as he cleans out his recently deceased father's hosue, thinks about his father, investigates his past, recognizes, at least, that their relationship was stronger than he always thought---that he is much like his father in many ways. Nothing new there in a memoir by a son about a father, but this one is so beautifully written that I was all set...more
Karl Ruben
After recently reading W.G. Sebald's The Emigrants, the presence of a sole reproduced old black and white family photograph at the start of The Invention of Solitude creates an expectation in me, which inevitably leads to disappointment later on, when it turns out that that one photo, one of several explicitly referenced in the text, is the only illustration Auster has to offer me. The disappointment is irrational, I realise, but I reserve the right to nurture it anyway. Wading my way through Au...more
The first section, Portrait of an Invisible Man, about the death of Auster's father, is absolutely amazing. There's not a single paragraph that I didn't find interesting. Auster manages to present several aspects of a single person, all of them wildly different from each other, and making them all seem very real. This reminds me of Borges' essay on Beckford's Vathek, which opens with this:

"Wilde attributes this joke to Carlyle: a biography of Michelangelo that would make no mention of the works...more
Georgia Choate
The Invention of Solitude is the biography of Paul Auster's father Sam Auster who died when Paul Auster's own son was very young. Auster never fully bonded with his father. His loss was that much more heartbreaking because his mourning was filtered through the nurturing bond Auster was developing with his own son.

More than any other author I've read, the voice of Paul Auster intices me to write. He balances his concrete and abstract images perfectly. Just when he's quoted Proust in a way I don't...more
Amir Mojiry
نحوه ی خرید اختراع انزوا این طوری بود: عید امسال با میلاد رفته بودیم شهر کتاب ونک، آن جا بین کتاب ها پرسه می زدیم که این کتاب را دید میلاد و گفت کتاب خوبی است و بعد نگاه کردیم به "نقد" کتاب و دیدیم نقد خوبی دارد: 4800 تومان. این شد که یکی یک دانه از کتاب خریدیم!
کتاب دو بخش دارد: پرتره ی مردی نامرئی و کتاب خاطره. بخش اول منسجم تر و راحت خوان تر است. از خواندن آن لذت بردم.
بخش دوم، پیچیده و در هم برهم است. البته حرف های خیلی خوبی در آن هست، آدم را به فکر فرو می برد، باعث نگاه نو به خیلی چیزها می شو...more
Peter Choi
In "Portrait of an Invisible Man," you can see the process of emotional reconciliation happening directly on the page. You see the wheels turning in Auster's mind as he tries to remember his distant, enigmatic father and then deal with the loss of never being able to fully understand him. It is the plain, moving nature of his confession that wins you over.

In "The Book of Memory," however, something happens to his voice. Like his father, he himself becomes emotionally distant, referring to himsel...more
Good, but I liked the first part way more than the second one, thus giving it 'only' three stars.
Susan Oleksiw
The death of Paul Auster's father, in 1979, changed his life by bringing him an inheritance that allowed him to write without worrying about earning an income. This book, his first memoir, has two parts. In Part One, Portrait of an Invisible Man, Auster writes to recover the little known figure who was his father, and in this manner discover his own identify. The lives of Paul and his father, Sam, contain coincidences that would not be believed in fiction, but as Auster points out, our lives con...more
the first half, which is all i've read thus far, is a memoir recounting the death of the author's father. he describes the moment he learned of his father's death, the process of cleaning his father's house, the dry cleaning bills, the worn-out suits, the myriad objects that were left by his father, objects like arrows pointing to his father's identity, which ultimately reveal nothing about the man he feels he never knew. eh. it's good, so far.
این کتاب شاید یه جور خاطره نویسنده باشه از پدرش که تازه قوت شده و شاید رابطه خیلی جالبی هم باهاش نداشته در طول زندگی و همچنین یه جور تلاشه برای برای نفوذ به انزوای خودخواسته اش از راه یادآوری و ثبت اون خاطرات،یه جور تفکراتی در باره تنهایی، انزوا، اخلاق، ادبیات، هستی و...

کتاب با این سه تا جمله تموم میشه:

"بود. دیگر هرگز نخواهد بود. به خاطر بسپار."

در هر صورت من دوستش داشتم
Simon Vandereecken
La première partie 'Portrait d' un homme invisible' est touchante et intriguante, pouvant se relier à plusieurs personnes croisées ça et là, rappelant en certains points L'étranger de Camus, le tout rattaché à un univers familial particulier pouvant expliquer beaucoup de choses. La seconde, L'invention de la solitude, m'a parue plus décousue, et si les thèmes abordés sont très intéressants et que plusieurs phrases poussent à l'introspection et à la réflexion, elle est plus difficile à aborder et...more
José Enrique Vivas M.
La exploración que hace Auster de la personalidad de su recientemente fallecido padre en la primera mitad del libro es muy empática y sentida. Contempla el autor la distante relación que los unió y que de una u otra le formó a él como padre. La descripción del hombre es a ratos despiadada, y en el solaz con que detalla sus excentricidades y las intimidades de su familia uno a su vez se explora, y busca en las escenas de la infancia esas marcas que madre, padre y hermanos dejan en nuestra persona...more
Though I had my problems with the second half, the first part took me some 3 hours although I spent some more time re-reading parts later on. The fragile tale of a son describing his father with both love and convulsion, affection and distance is phenomenal.
Bruno Alves da Silva
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A moving memoir and contemplation of fathers and sons, solitude and creativity, chance and memory. It illuminates a lot of his fiction for me and his interest in seeing and invisibility.
Robin Edman
Parenting is a noble undertaking only when you do it nobly. Mr. Auster's father only accidentally contributed to making him the remarkable man that the author is. Shame on him.
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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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“The pen will never be able to move fast enough to write down every word discovered in the space of memory. Some things have been lost forever, other things will perhaps be remembered again, and still other things have been lost and found and lost again. There is no way to be sure of any this.” 108 likes
“Every book is an image of solitude. It is a tangible object that one can pick up, put down, open, and close, and its words represent many months if not many years, of one man’s solitude, so that with each word one reads in a book one might say to himself that he is confronting a particle of that solitude” 24 likes
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