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Winter Journal

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  7,099 ratings  ·  834 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 sens
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Henry Holt And Co
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Mag Ortiz I've read almost all of his work, i got like three books from him to go, but my favorite has to be the new york trilogy, it's the first one i read and…moreI've read almost all of his work, i got like three books from him to go, but my favorite has to be the new york trilogy, it's the first one i read and i love it, it's like an old friend, my other favorites are moon palace, sunset park, the country of last things, all of his work are my favorite books actually, no need to list them.(less)

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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Steven Godin
The New York Trilogy was my first experience of Auster's work, it baffled and mesmerized me from start to finish, and was the book that got me into books, so Paul Auster ultimately changed my life, for the better. After reading many other works of his fiction I thought the time was right to read about the man himself. He started writing this just short of his sixty-third Birthday in 2011 and contains within a heartfelt and honest examination of moments from his life, and the slowly creeping agei ...more
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-biography

Paul Auster is one of my very favourite writers. One of those few that each one of us readers has so high up in our ranking that we'll read whatever they come up with, expecting not the bedazzlement of a first encounter but the warmth of familiarity of a longstanding relationship. In this context, leniency is part of the game. We can't love everything they've written but we don't give up on them when they don't fully deliver.

Why am I saying all this? Because this past week I found myself discus
Jakob 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
Elyse  Walters by Paul Auster!

Publisher’s Summary:
“That is where the story begins, in your body, and everything will end in the body as well”.

“Facing his 63rd winter, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster sits down to write a history of his body and its sensations - both pleasurable as painful. Thirty years after the publication of
“The Invention of Solitude”, in which he wrote so movingly about fatherhood, Auster gives us a second unconventional memoir in which he writes about his
This is one of the most remarkable memoirs I’ve ever read. Approaching age 64 and the winter of his life, Auster decided to assemble his most visceral memories. Here he parades them past in a seemingly random order yet manages to give a sense of the sweep of his life. The use of the second person draws readers in to (re-)experience things along with the author, while also creating an artistic distance between the subject and his reminiscences. Auster describes his aim thus:
Time is running out, a
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
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
Paul Auster is a master of words.

This is a memoir that I read with pleasure, the pleasure caused by everything that is well crafted. The longest sentence in this book has 352 words (yes, I counted them), and it almost sounds like music, like a song you don't want to end. Not all of Paul Auster's works have this virtue, but this one does.

I usually prefer his novels over his non-fictional books:Moon Palace, The New York Trilogy, The Music of Chance, and others just blow me away. The main reason, w
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
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Andrew Smith
You have entered the winter of your life. So ends this collection of reflections on the life of this superb writer, now in his mid 60's. He's put together a number of pieces - some very short, no more that a few paragraphs, and others running to a few pages - reflecting on various thoughts and happenings through his life. You don't have to be an Auster aficionado to enjoy this book, but it does help. Some, for me, we're very powerful, none more so than the long(ish) and excruciating account of h ...more
Mar 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
M. Sarki
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
Bob Mustin
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a creative way to tell one's memoire. Again love having Auster read his books. ...more
Paul Gleason
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Elena Papadopoulou
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: made-me-cry
''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.'' ...more
Liina Bachmann
Apr 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
There is no doubt Paul Auster is a literary superstar. Loved by readers, financially successful and with an instantly recognizable style. He writes so smoothly that you don't even notice when you have finished another one of his, usually around 250-page books. Most of his books take you to New York and it is NY as we all imagine it to be. Especially imagined by those who haven't been there themself. A city engraved to our minds through pop culture, so familiar that you immediately recognize all ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Anna Marie
This was the first work 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 go ...more
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
“Sneezing and laughing, yawning and crying, burping and crying, scratching your ears, rubbing your eyes, blowing your nose, clearing your throat, chewing your lips, rolling your tongue over the backs of your lower teeth, shuddering, farting, hiccuping, wiping sweat from your forehead, running your hands through your hair. How many times have you done those things? How many stubbed toes, smashed fingers, and knocks on the head? How many stumbles, slips, and falls? How many blinks of your eyes? H ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't recommend this book to fans of Auster's more vivid novels orhis engrossing, struggling memoirs. I would recommend this for those who are NOT so accustomed to Auster's other works or those who are wiling to navigate the less-charted territory of his inner world.

This 'journal' is more like a memoir in the form of loose, rambling pieces of his memory, as if patched together from excerpts of his journals. However, the second-person voice is rarely used in journals and it sounds more like
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Yair Ben-Zvi
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This review is long in coming but I can say without hyperbole that Auster is an artist, God help me I'll even say he's a 'writer's writer'. And funnily enough I'm expressing this sentiment based on this book, essentially, his memoirs (as opposed to the novels of fiction Auster's made his bones with). But in this case Auster's skill transcends genre. He does this so well in fact that Paul Auster manages to do something most writers can't pull off, that is, make the banal realities of day to day w ...more
Chris Dietzel
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was excellent and rivals Auster's best fiction in terms of how engrossing it was. I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Auster himself, and was pleasantly surprised by how great of a job he did. Writers reading their own books is usually not a good idea, but Auster is one of two writers I can think of (Richard Ford is the other) whose already great books are even better when you hear them read it because they do such a good job of conveying the tone behind what they are writing a ...more
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I love Paul Auster and this was no exception. Even though this is not one of of his fictions but a journal, it still was a delightful read. One of those reads that you just want to keep going and you have to force yourself to stop in order to take care of your other duties. Which is something that has not happened to me in a long while.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Wonderfully written and very heart-felt, this book tells the story of a Paul Auster through flashbacks. I found it very similar to Roth's writing, and I was so here for it (: ...more
Ignacio Peña
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mesmerizing, relentless, abstract memoir that sifts through Auster's memories of his family and his life in a compelling way. I tend not to read memoirs or autobiographies so I don't know how many writers approach the subject of their own life (on a craft level), but I found the style of this book to be fascinating and engaging. It's all told with a 2nd-person perspective which I have only seen used by various writers in the short story form, and have never fully found myself convinced by the PO ...more
Leigh Swinbourne
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title, ‘Winter Journal’, for American novelist Paul Auster’s recent memoir made me think of ‘Winter Journey/Winterreise’, Franz Schubert’s great monodrama of mortal resignation. But as it turned out, Auster is a hale and hearty sixty-four and ‘Winter’, metaphoric or otherwise, seems very much in abeyance in this offbeat examination of his life to date. The book serves as a sort of long-awaited sequel to ‘The Invention of Solitude’, Auster’s fine and moving memoir of his father, which kick-st ...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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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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“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.” 134 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.” 64 likes
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