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"That is where the story begins, in your body, and everything will end in the body as well."
Facing his 63rd winter, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster sits down to write a history of his body and its sensations - both pleasurable and painful. Thirty years after the publication of The Invention of Solitude, in which he wrote so movingly about fatherhood, Auster gives us a second unconventional memoir in which he writes about his mother's life and death. Winter Journal is a highly personal meditation on the body, time, and memory, by one of our most intellectually elegant writers.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Diane on 09-02-12
Where does Winter Journal rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Right up there with the best.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter Journal?
Not a moment but a sequence. Thought the way he told his stories via the houses he'd lived in was clever.
Which scene was your favorite?
When he falls in love with his wife, of course!
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
A journey through life into old age.
Any additional comments?
I had never heard of Paul Auster until his interview on NPR's Fresh Air. I listened to this book for a solid 6+hours because it was so good; something I've never done before— admittedly I came of age through the same time period, and am entering my own "Winter" so that held my interest. His narration is stellar; love when an author can narrate. Will definitely get another of his books; hope it's as good as this one!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By P. Carson on 09-17-12
A guarded memoir
I read Winter Journal by Paul Auster because I have read two of the author’s recent novels, Sunset Park and Invisible. In fact, I listened to the audiobook version of Winter Journal because it is read by the author. I liked the writing style of Auster’s memoir but found the actual content somewhat guarded, lacking intimacy, with biographical information substituted for comments about his writing. Like many other authors, Auster seems to conceal his literary opinion so that his readers will make sense of his novels based solely on the published text. Auster’s thoughts about life, aging, and death are similar to my own, which is not too surprising since he and I are close to the same age. What Auster says has been said just as well or better by others, who are willing to explore deeper questions about the meaning of life, religious faith or lack thereof, and strategies to remain relevant and “loveable” in our old age.
I was puzzled by the rambling style of the memoir. Part is chronological, giving us comments about every home Auster ever lived in, his own childhood memories, his experiences in France and his general dislike of the Parisians, his first marriage (but not the reasons for its breakup), and his second marriage, which has continued for thirty years. Parts of the memoir jump back to the author’s relationship with his mother and his lack of a relationship with his father. Auster’s recurring “panic attacks”, dating from his early twenties to the present, are quite revealing, and seem related to his insecurity during his childhood, after the divorce of his own parents. His own divorce, on the other hand, coincides chronologically and psychologically with the rebirth of his own creativity. He learns to hear the music within himself and to put words to that music. His description of an experimental ballet, without music, that he saw performed at this time identifies the incident as the spark of his rebirth. Shortly thereafter, with the help of his estranged wife, he overcame the emotional turmoil attending the death of his father. Not too much later, he met the woman who became his second wife, and entered a relationship he finds as loving today as thirty years ago.
Although authors who publish memoirs late in life sometimes announce or anticipate their own retirement, Paul Auster does not seem to have retirement in mind in Winter Journal. I hope to see new works of fiction from the author for years to come, and hope to be here to read them
2 of 2 people found this review helpful