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With some exceptions, of course. Rural and wild places are as mediated and complicated as cities are. Pollution and agriculture and communications systems from folklore to Twitter connect even the most remote places to global networks and current events.

More Books by Paul Auster

Combines are steered by satellite and hikers check their email on mountains. Are any of these writers, or characters, influences? Part of the impulse to tell this story came from my shifting reactions to Walden.


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Not for my hermit, at least. Bartleby is one of my favorite characters.

Such a perfect story, and so prescient in a quiet way compared to the boldness with which Melville took on the possibilities of fiction in Moby Dick. In another way, Tom McCarthy was a big influence. I butted heads over that in grad school and got reprimanded for it in the rejections I received for the stories I submitted to journals. It was liberating to see a story told in a straightforward way, challenging not for its structure or style but for its ideas — just to see a novel so unabashed about having ideas, rather than pretending language or plot can happen without them, and without being didactic or sacrificing narrative momentum.

SH: I read books and watched films about hermits religious, ornamental, and otherwise, and about the psychological attractions and impacts of extended silence and solitude. I read earlier novels about hermits and solitaries and learned about landscape design and the development of gardens, which were things I was already interested in.

Then I tried to put all that research out of my head as I wrote.

The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster | Penguin Random House Canada

Hopefully, through osmosis, all that research found its way into the story in useful ways. The other kind of research was experiential.

Right from the earliest draft, the story started with my protagonist losing his job. It was miserable at the time, but as I said at a reading recently it was ultimately the most important bit of research I did and a breakthrough that let me finish the novel. Still, I hope I can finish another without needing an equally awful experience.

In the first half, "Portrait of an Invisible Man," Auster comes to terms with the death of his father, and as he investigates this elusive figure, he makes a rather shocking and enlightening discovery about his family's history.

ISBN 13: 9780571168620

The second half, "The Book of Memory," finds the author on more abstract ground, toying with the entwined metaphors of coincidence, translation, solitude, and language. But here, too, the autobiographical element gives an extra kick to Auster's prose and keeps him from sliding off into armchair aesthetics. An eloquent, mesmerizing book. He was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in His work has been translated into more than forty languages.

In Studio: Paul Auster reads from "Winter Journal"

He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Convert currency. Add to Basket. Book Description Faber and Faber.

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