Writer Paul Auster dies at 77


There are circumstances that mark you. This is what Paul Auster commented in an interview held near his house in 2009. If at fourteen years old you see how lightning strikes your friend a few meters away while he is trying to escape the storm under a wire fence, possibly that will change you. your vision of life.

On another occasion he recalled that “a thunderclap sounded at the precise moment when Siri and I said I do and I couldn’t help but think that the heavens were opening when I was taking such a decisive step in my life.” Who might be surprised that his literature is an exercise in coincidences.

“They are not my books, but everything in life is the result of chance. It’s fascinating to think, for example, where did your parents meet? It’s luck. If they hadn’t met, you wouldn’t be in Brooklyn. Isn’t it a strange story? They met by luck, don’t doubt it, and now you are sitting in front of me,” he reflected in that interview.

It was relevant for its fusion of genres, its mixture of everyday with intrigue and moral fable.

Auster, the author of the celebrated book New York Trilogy, died Tuesday night at his home in Brooklyn due to a complication in his lung cancer. He was 77 years old and had a prolific work that made him a representative of his generation. Novelist, memoirist and writer, as some defined him, he was relevant for his fusion of genres, his mixture of everyday reality with intrigue and moral fable.

He was born in New Jersey in 1947. However, due to family ties and his experiences, he became a New Yorker. “For me there is not just one New York,” he said. “I feel it in different ways and different places, there is the lonely New York or the New York of friends and friendship, and each one fosters a type of book.”

Francesc Bombí-Vilaseca

His aura as a star writer made him transcend further, becoming a relevant figure in New York society. One critic described him as “one of America’s most spectacularly inventive writers.” Absolute owner of a very refined technique, he established the foundations of a singular narrative concept that escaped all ascription, others pointed out.

And there is also Paul Auster’s New York.

Paul Auster, at the CCCB party

Ana Jimenez

As his fame grew, Auster became a kind of standard-bearer or guardian of Brooklyn’s rich prominence in letters and fame as a place of residence for the ‘cool’ people, the progressive intelligentsia. But, another of his coincidences, he confessed to this chronicler that he and his wife Siri Hustvedt ended up in that county, in the Park Slope neighborhood, because they couldn’t find anything at a better price in Manhattan, where they really wanted to settle.


His literary journey began to take flight with The invention of lonelinessin 1982, a disturbing memoir in which he reflects on his distant relationship with his father, who had recently died.

‘City of Glass’, his first novel, was rejected by 17 publishers before it finally saw the light of day in 1985.

Crystal City, his first novel, was rejected by 17 publishers before it finally saw the light of day in 1985 thanks to a small California publisher. This volume later became the first part of his celebrated New York Trilogythree novels (the other two are Ghosts and The closed room) packaged in a single volume.

It achieved the distinction of being one of the 25 most significant novels about the Big Apple in the last hundred years, according to a list in the magazine of the The New York Times.

Auster assured that he always wanted to be a writer who wanted to write things that for him were beautiful, true and good, but he clarified that he was also interested in inventing new ways of telling stories.

The author of 'The Immortal Flame of Stephen Crane', Paul Auster. September 16, 2021. (Horizontal)

Paul Auster. in an image from 2021

Edu Bayer / ACN

Among his most acclaimed books are Moon, S Palace (1989), Leviathan (1992) or The book of illusions (2002). Starting in the 1990s, Auster had the spotlight in Hollywood. From this ambition arose Smoke (1995), a film with a masterful Harvey Keitel. That same year he came Blue in the facewith cameos like those of Lou Reed or Madonna

Despite the successes, he also received setbacks. The most famous were those of the critic James Wood in The New Yorker. “I don’t read any of his reviews, although I know them. I know he attacks me. I don’t have anything personal with him, but it’s always like that. Many friends ask me what the problem is. He is a reactionary. I don’t want to worry. Siri, who is traveling, called me to tell me. “She said it was like you were walking down the street and a stranger punched you in the face,” she confessed in another interview.

Sergio Vila-Sanjuán

Paul Auster, one of the great contemporary novelists, dies at 77

In his final years, his life was affected by tragedy. His son Daniel Auster, who was 44 years old, died of an overdose in the spring of 2022. The writer’s son had been charged with the death of his 10-month-old daughter Ruby (and Auster’s granddaughter). According to him, he had consumed heroin when he fell asleep and when the little girl woke up she was dead from fentanyl and heroin poisoning.

In 2006, the writer received the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature. In his speech he stated: “I have spent my life striking up conversations with people I have never seen, with people I will never meet, and I hope to continue doing so until the day I breathe my last breath.”



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