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The Invention of Solitude

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  12,175 ratings  ·  1,413 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
Mass Market Paperback, 173 pages
Published 1988 by Penguin (first published 1982)
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Elgun Uludagh Yes. After the invisible man, it seems a little bit boring. Those are his memories and gets annoying to know more about his thoughts.
Noha Hey, I would love to discuss the book with you, once I finish it. It might take a while though, since I'm reading other books too that have priority. …moreHey, I would love to discuss the book with you, once I finish it. It might take a while though, since I'm reading other books too that have priority. But some day, let's talk(less)
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The Invention of Solitude, Paul Auster

The Invention of Solitude is Paul Auster's first memoir, published in the year 1982.

The book is divided into two separate parts, Portrait of an Invisible Man, which concerns the sudden death of Auster's father, and The Book of Memory, in which Auster delivers his personal opinions concerning subjects such as coincidence, fate, and solitude, subjects that have become trademarks of Auster's works.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: نوزدهم سپتامبر سال 2009میلادی

عنوان: اختراع
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
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
Stephen Durrant
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
M. Sarki
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dave Schaafsma
Two parts: "Portrait of an invisible man," a meditation about his father upon his father's death, and "The Book of Memory," which is a kind of abstract meditation about memory, language, solitude, writing, story and fatherhood, in part based on his own young son Daniel (with no mention of Lydia Davis, Daniel's mother). This is a book about fatherhood, so it's about men and seeing yourself in your father and your son, to see the old man in the face of a child, and vice versa. The first section is ...more
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't entirely know what to say or how to describe this book. Rather I'll just state that in the end the only reaction I had was that I had just read something beautiful. ...more

Aχ ρε Paul
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: w-america, biography
it makes you feel like the writer isn't writing his words on a blank sheet of paper, it's like he's writing directly in your soul. ...more
Chris Dietzel
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a memoir told in two parts--the first half dealing with Auster trying to come to terms with his father's death and seemingly nonexistent existence, and the second half dealing with Auster's experiences as father himself. I loved the first half and would give it 5 stars. Auster's account of trying to find an identity for his father might be the best of the author's writing that I've read. The second half, though, had no connection for me, felt too experimental and nonlinear, and detracted ...more
Nothing special 😔
I don't think I would have finished this had I not read Auster's 'Winter Journal', his second 'memoir', written 30 years after 'The Invention of Solitude'.
'The Invention of Solitude' is divided into two sections, "Portrait of an Invisible Man' and 'The Book of Memory'. The first one deals with the death of Auster's father, and is more or less a collection of memories, family stories, incidents, descriptions of the house he lived in and how it was found after his death; essentially, Auster is tr
Debbie Robson
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, again, like I touched on in my review of Hand to Mouth, what an interesting life Auster has had and his childhood is one that would definitely make a quiet and introspective child retreat even further and observe. The father is obviously not your average run of the mill 1950s dad. He is withdrawn most of the time - the possibility of Aspergers struck me - and is not in the least bit affectionate.
In this breakthrough book Auster ponders on his childhood, the sort of father he had to grow u
Oct 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This is a beautiful, clever (meta) and intriguing book. What one of my friends would call a "thought sandwich", because, at least with my experience with the book, with each read section, you find yourself pausing and thinking over the text. The connections that the author is making.

I like portrait of an Invisible Man Differently than I do The Book Of Memory, they are structured so differently and so effectively that I have to say i'm impressed. Invisible Man seems to zero in on a man who is no
Vera Rossakoff
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“It was. It will never be again. Remember.”
Faiza Sattar
★★★★★ (5/5)

“One thing must be understood: I have said nothing extraordinary or even surprising. What is extraordinary begins at the moment I stop. But I am no longer able to speak of it.”

This is an utterly moving and beautiful memoir, chronicling the author’s meditations on his father’s death, happy coincidences and driving forces of his own life which give meaning to his existence. Split in two, the first part of this book deals with the author straining to give a definite form to his father t
Frank Jude
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, essays
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
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
After only reading one of his books .now i am convinced that not a lot of writers can deliver words and present their characters as beautifully as paul auster . I think almost every page of my copy is highlighted .
I an writing a very lengthy review on this .
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
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
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
May 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paul-auster
He lays out a piece of blank paper on the table before him and writes these words with his pen.
The sky is blue and black and gray and yellow. The sky is not there, and it is red. All this was yesterday. All this was a hundred years ago. The sky is white. It smells of the earth, and it is not there. The sky is white like the earth, and it smells of yesterday. All this was tomorrow. All this was a hundred years from now. The sky is lemon and rose and lavender. The sky is the earth. The sky is whi
Wonderfully written, I still can't decide whether I like “The Portrait of an Invisible Man” or “Book of Memories” better. The book overall is a series of contemplations over life, solitude and death. Surprisingly, reading it coincided with the death of a dear friend of mine which really put me to thought.
“The Portrait...” is the story of the author’s father whose unexpected death makes him reflect and go through his faded presence in Auster’s life. On the other hand “The Book of...” is a very we
Hala Alzaghal
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given it the five stars had there not been the second part. For me, it just kind of ruined the vibe of the first. The first part is haunting, scary, unbelievably true for everyone. It made me think twice about presence all together. But I wonder, if his father had not died, would he have written something this invading about him? If he believed that his father could come back and read it, would it be the same? Reading the truth hurts so much more than living your whole life avoiding ...more
Liliana Sousa
It was. It will never be again. Remember.
Abdulkhalek Zohbi
The idea of how his father affected his life and how the story of his father affected his life too ...
Saleem Khashan
I have listened to Auster before this is the first reading. The first half is very emotional portrayal of how much we and our father's are similar but mostly never have the chance to enjoy this similarities while we can because....
He discusses his father not to forget him, a character I loved and felt close to me, and the father ends up with a very interesting story anyway.
The second half Auster goes into a personal rambling (including Old testament , bible, holocaust , Jewish history in the a
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is split into two separate meditations on Fatherhood from the same dude. I really like Paul Auster, I think we’d be mates. The first section ‘Portrait of the Invisible Man’ is about Auster’s dad, a solemn, absent man the author struggled to connect with, but the eulogy written here is full of evidence they did in fact connect. It’s beautifully written and full of anecdotes that made me laugh and made me sad. The second section, ‘The Book of Memory’ is a far more meta, weird, shard lik ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It was. It will never be again. Remember."

The first part, Portrait of an Invisible Man, is the memoir of the author about the days after the death of his father, when he finds himself among the whole stuff of a dead man, and when he starts to discover his father again. This part is really good and touching. But I was truly thrilled by the second part, The Book of Memory, when a man, in fact, the author, sits in his room and thinks, about his past and tries to dig into his memories, and the resu
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
قرأته بسرعه لما وصلت لنصف الكتاب..
if you've lost one of your parents i don't think it's a good book for you.
it's like bringing up all the old memories you have been through
i'm sure it will be a good book for other readers.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first non-fiction book by Paul Auster that I've read (and also his debut work) and I definitely didn't like it.
This book is comprised of two essays, made up of disjointed paragraphs. Whilst I found the first part, about Auster's father, merely boring, I found the second part, which explores the mechanics of memory, the solitude of writing, and the concepts of coincidence and chance (among others), mostly unintelligible and nonsensical.
The writing is stilted and often affected, not
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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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“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.” 176 likes
“It was. It will never be again. Remember.” 55 likes
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