Auster, Paul (ôˈstər) [key], 1947–, American writer, b. Newark, N.J. After publishing four volumes of poetry, he wrote his first novel, Squeeze Play (1982). A compelling storyteller, Auster became well known for the short novels of The New York Trilogy — City of Glass (1985), Ghosts (1986), and The Locked Room (1986)—tautly surreal variations on the urban detective story. Written with great clarity, extremely stylized, filled with elements of symbolism and the surreal as well as metaphysical and epistemological concerns; employing cinematic plots and pulp novel conventions; displaying a fascination with doppelgängers and coincidences; and featuring a sharply contemporary, postmodern sensibility, his later novels include Moon Palace (1989); The Music of Chance (1991); Leviathan (1992); Timbuktu (1999), a tale of dog and master told from the dog's point of view; The Book of Illusions (2002); Oracle Night (2003); The Brooklyn Follies (2005); Travels in the Scriptorium (2007); Man in the Dark (2008); Invisible (2009), in which the central character learns about love from several people in varying situations, including an incestuous affair with his sister; and Sunset Park (2010). Auster is also an essayist, translator, screenwriter, and memoirist.
See his memoirs, The Invention of Solitude (1982, repr. 2007) and Winter Journal (2012); C. Springer, A Paul Auster Sourcebook (2001); P. Auster and J. M. Coetzee, Here and Now: Letters, 2008–2011 (2013); studies by D. Barone, ed. (1995), A. Varvogli (2001), I. Shiloh (2002), H. Bloom, ed. (2004), M. Brown (2007), B. Martin (2008), and J. Peacock (2010).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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