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Collected Prose: Autobiographical Writings, True Stories, Critical Essays, Prefaces, Collaborations with Artists, and Interviews

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  234 ratings  ·  13 reviews
An updated edition with six new essays, including "An Evening at Shea" and "Remembering Beckett," as well as two long interviews from "one of America's greats" (Time Out Chicago)The celebrated author of Invisible, The New York Trilogy, and The Book of Illusions presents a highly personal collection of essays, prefaces, true stories, autobiographical writings (including the ...more
Paperback, 608 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by Picador (first published October 16th 2003)
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Feb 09, 2011 Natalie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sam Schulz
was surprised to find out how "normal-sounding" that Gothic dreamboat Auster is, if not in his mystery-noir-cityscape serials, at least in his memoirs. his observations on memory, family, all the "staples," are boring, but reassuring to read nonetheless: it's comforting to know that the more specific one gets, the more universal one becomes. basic memoir stuff here: 9/11, life abroad in Paris, life in Brooklyn, his odd, non-emotional father. there's no subtext here.
I'm marking this down slightly as it contains two books I'd already read separately (in their own volumes): The Invention of Solitude and Hand to Mouth. That wasn't at all clear to me from the publisher description and I might have thought twice before buying it if I'd realised. That said, if I hadn't already read and enjoyed those separately it would be a solid four stars because those are good reads (no pun intended).

It also contains The Red Notebook - which, again, has been published separate
Auster has been a published writer since the 70s, known more for his fiction than his non-fiction, translations, and poetry—though he was a translator and poet first. This comprehensive collection brings together a diversity of prose across thirty years of work—longish memoir pieces, book prefaces, editorials, reviews, and observational pieces. I liked them all and my list of to-be-read books increased by reading this one (Jabes, Hawthorne, Reznikoff, Beckett’s novels). Auster is smart and persu ...more
Collects The Invention of Solitude, Hand to Mouth, The Red Notebook, The Story of My Typewriter, a short NYC living guide thing, various critical essays, prefaces, occasion essays, and two interviews.

This is the only place where most of these critical writings, essays, prefaces, and interviews are collected, so this volume is well worth buying. It's economical, too, as it contains within it four independently published books in addition to all the other stuff.
Paul Auster is just a fantastic writer and I highly recommmend this book. I am not normally a fan of "collections," but there are several great pieces in here that are worth checking out, especially the essay about his father. Because he writes in so many genres - fiction, personal nonfiction, literary critique - this is a good book to start with if you want to explore more of his writing but don't know where to start.
not sure how i feel about auster. i remember reading approximately one page of one of his novels and thought it was ridiculous, despite being so highly recommended. after a couple years, i figured it was time to give him another shot. i'll tell you man, it's slow going. every once in a while he'll hit on something insightful, but i think i might have to abandon him. keep inventing that solitude, p.a.
One of those dudes I'd been meaning to check out for years and I'm glad I finally did as this is an on-going favorite (haven't finished it). I love how effortless his writing is and I can't wait to read all of his other stuff. There's little better than finding an author you like who's got a hefty back catalogue just waiting for you; I'm getting ready to dive-in.
Man Paul Auster is mostly awfully good at writing, so it is sort of reassuring that when it comes to talking about himself and his life it turns out he has the same problem as most of us and can't tell what is interesting and what is like 30 pages of every concidence or lucky occurrence he has experienced or heard about. THAT IS BORING MR. PAUL AUSTER.
Malini Sridharan
I read this about four years ago, and the Invention of Solitude impressed me very much, more so than the new york trilogy. Just as thoughtful, but more sincere. I can hardly remember anything else from the collection, hence only 3 stars.
Auster's essay about his father is very powerful; at this point, I think I prefer his nonfiction but want to read more.
Ben Stroup
If you are a layabout of any sort, read Hand To Mouth.
this man is so, so smart.
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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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