In the High Peaks

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Heck, I'm Just a Paul Auster Fan

When people ask me who my favorite author is, I usually name Paul Auster. His work, no matter what it is, has never failed to amaze me. I can't say I've loved every book he's written, but I've adored a good number, and every single one has startled me to the point where I either jump up from or fall off the couch. Now I'm talking mentally startling, not vampires, not predators, nothing like that. Paul Auster is much more The Twilight Zone than Stephen King.

Paul Auster was born in northern New Jersey on February 3, 1947. My beloved but now deceased older brother was born in 1947. Two of my favorite cousins were born in that year. And, last, but not least, and certainly not least, my husband was born in 1947. An extraordinary vintage, to be sure.

Paul Auster does not have an authorized website, which is really sad, because that leaves stupid, inaccurate Wikipedia and individual nobodies to fill in the blanks of his work and life. I must write to Henry Holt, Auster's publisher, and urge them to correct this. An authoritative Paul Auster website would be grand!

My favorite Paul Auster novel is Oracle Night, which is an ingenious story within a story within a story. When I bought it over five years ago in paperback, I read it once, then reread it, rereading sections over and over again. It's one gigantic puzzle. And FUN!

I must tell you that Paul Auster is considered an author of "literary fiction," but his novels are fun to figure out and he has a droll sense of humor, so if that label is off-putting, don't let it put you off, if you get my drift, which is a hackneyed, dated phrase that anyone born in 1947 would not hesitate to use. No, I wasn't born in '47; I just love people who were. They are all definitely my seniors. I was born in another decade entirely.

Auster's latest? Invisible. I give it the highest ratings.


  1. Hello Judith, I stumbled on your blog and am really enjoying your posts. This was a lovely appreciation of Auster. I don't know why I've never read Auster, as I think I would like him (my daughter is a fan). I do like the work of his wife, Siri Hustvedt.

  2. I have a Paul Auster novel that I haven't read yet called Moon Palace. I became intrigued by him when I read an article that stated that his books were the ones most shoplifted in NYC.

  3. I borrowed Paul Auster's The Brooklyn Follies from the library today. It was the only one of his in so I'm hoping it's a good one. I've never read any of his. There's hardly anything worth borrowing from the library here too. Musn't grumble though - at least it's still open!