Paul Auster, the writer of the deep look and eternal candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature

Paul Auster is one of the most brilliant American writers of his generation and a true symbol of “being” a New Yorker, a city that he adores, in which he has lived for more than four decades, and through which many of his stories take place, such as “TNew York Rilogy”, “brooklyn follies” or “Sunset Park”.

Auster builds, like few others, labyrinthine plots, current stories where he mixes fiction, chance, reality and mystery, distributed equally among large portions of autobiography, ‘austerian’ ingredients with which he has captivated millions of readers around the world.

This man with a deep and intelligent look, as intense as the one in his novels, this “tireless explorer of human identity” with all its horrors and splendours, figure, year after year, in all the lists of favorites for the Nobel Prize for Literature. But while that arrives, its long list of titles has already been translated into more than forty languages. In Spain he was recognized in 2006 with the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters, an award that his wife, the writer Siri Hustvedt, also received in 2019..

$!Paul Auster during the presentation in Madrid of his latest novel 4321”. EFE/JPGandul

Paul Auster during the presentation in Madrid of his latest novel “4321”. EFE/JPGandul


Auster has been working all his life without a PC or a smartphone: “I am one of the few people in the world far from all that. I write by hand and on the usual typewriter, it is indestructible”, acknowledges the 75-year-old writer for whom “writing is an act of freedom and a matter of survival”.

Son of Jewish immigrants, Paul Auster He was born in Newark, New Jersey, on February 3, 1947 and during his youth he worked as hard as he could to earn a living until, on the death of his father, he received a small inheritance that would allow him to live and dedicate himself to writing.

Auster achieved some fame as a result of his first autobiographical essay “The Invention of Solitude” (1982), but international success came later in the eighties with “New York Trilogy” (1985-1986) composed of three independent novels, “Crystal City”, “ghosts” Y “the locked room”, but articulated with each other, sharing characters, similar situations, wrapped in that detective and at the same time everyday atmosphere, so typical of Auster, a whole sort of intricate chain of associations that trap the reader from its first pages along with its recurring themes. : loneliness, the mysteries of reality, chance and writing.

And before all this, Auster writes with an agile prose that links with complex characters. That is the case of “Leviathan” (1992), in the opinion of his followers, his most beautiful novel. It recounts the life of a mysterious man told by his best friend, where destinies are intertwined, common in Auster’s stories, the perception of American life, as well as all the complexities of human relationships, an intelligent detective novel full of plots and intrigue within chained stories

It is followed by novels like “Mr Vertigo”, on the Great Depression of 29, “Moon, S Palace”, “Timbuktu”, “the book of illusions”, “the night of the oracle”, “brooklyn follies”, “Sunset Park”, “4 3 2 1”, film scripts (“Smoke”, “Blue in the Face” or “Lulu on the Bridge”) and memoirs such as “the red notebook”, “winter diary”, “interior report”.

But was his novel “4 3 2 1”, published in 2017, his most monumental work, that It took him more than seven years, a novel of more than 900 pages where he offers four alternative versions of the life of his protagonist, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, born, like the author, in 1947 in a Newark hospital. Hence, some point out that it is an autobiographical novel: “Every man contains several men inside him, and most of us jump from one to another without ever knowing who we are.Auster says.

From the bustling New York perspective, Auster creates intertwined chains of associations, stories full of changes, of shocking twists, but where there is no lack of psychological observations, the unpredictability of chance and the casual, elements where the weight falls, excessively for some, that it solves everything.

Auster himself defends himself against his tendency to “baste all the stories in chance, in the concatenation of random events”, alluding to the fact that “life is full of circumstantial moments that mark the course of our lives”, something that no one questions, but from there to the fact that each narrative advances, turns or is resolved by chance alone, altering everything, it seems as if the simple and casual replaced the complexity of finding the causes.


Paul Auster tells that when he finished “4 3 2 1” he was so exhausted after more than seven years of work and aware that it would be difficult for him to write fiction again, he dedicated himself to reading everything he had pending. This is how he came to Stephen Crane (1871-1900), a young writer and journalist, born, like him, in Newark, who died when he was only 28 years old, and who despite his short existence “it changed the course of literature in the US, it elevated the art of storytelling to another plane. He freed the American novel from the conventions that had imprisoned it for more than 150 years”, this is how Auster claims modernity in the work of Crane, a young promise who wrote ten novels, the most important “The Red Badge of Courage” (1895), a different war story, told from another point of view, with the inner voice of a poet, where “it surprises how being so young he can deal with the most complicated aspects of human behavior”.

Crane’s story was that of a highly talented precocious author trying to make his way in the world of letters through journalism (he was a war correspondent and covered the war in Cuba), but personally unable to control his expenses. , lived in debt and overwhelmed all his life, for which he sharpened the criticism in favor of the disadvantaged classes.

For Auster, this great chronicler of the underworld, who recorded misery in the big cities at the end of the 19th century, was one of the most enigmatic, fascinating and contradictory figures in literature who, despite belonging to a world before the modernity, his work anticipated it.

$! The writer Paul Auster, during the presentation of his latest novel 4321. EFE/JPGandul

The writer Paul Auster, during the presentation of his latest novel “4321”. EFE/JPGandul


+ The American writer turns 75 without stopping working: “Writing is for me an act of freedom and a matter of survival”, affirms the author of “New York Trilogy” (1987) that continues to write in the old way, by hand or with a typewriter, as the greatest display of technology.

+ Auster just posted, “The Immortal Flame by Stephen Crane”, a book about this brilliant but unsuccessful writer, almost unknown until now, Stephen Crane (1879-1900), “out of the ordinary” in Auster’s opinion, if tuberculosis had not skewed his life at only 28 years old, just when it was beginning to dawn, the 20th century had just started.

+ Paul Auster, which became very popular in the eighties as a result of his first novel, “The Invention of Solitude” (1982), an autobiographical essay followed by big titles like “New York Trilogy”, “Moon, S Palace”, “Timbuktu”, “Leviathan”, “the book of illusions”, “the night of the oracle”, “brooklyn follies” or “4 3 2 1”, is a politically committed man who rejects invitations from dictatorial countries like China or Turkey in protest against their governments: “I do not go to countries that do not have democratic laws, even if they invite me”.

By Amalia González Manjavacas EFE/Reports

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Paul Auster, the writer of the deep look and eternal candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature