Synopses & Reviews
This is the story of a young man's struggle to stay afloat. By turns poignant and comic, Paul Auster's memoir is essentially an autobiographical essay about money--and what it means not to have it. From one odd job to the next, from one failed scheme to another, Auster investigates his own stubborn compulsion to make art and describes his ingenious, often far-fetched attempts to survive on next to nothing. From the streets of New York City and Paris to the rural roads of upstate New York, the author treats us to a series of remarkable adventures and unforgettable encounters and, in several elaborate appixes, to previously unknown work from these years.
"Delightful ... a gracious and humane tale ... one can only marvel at Auster's artistry:"--The Boston Globe
"Entertaining and instructive to anyone considering a literary life. You realize you're in the hands of someone who couldn't write down, even if he wanted to."--The Washington Post Book World
"Paul Auster's engaging account of his early economic struggles ... with a colorful east of sharply etched characters."--Chicago Tribune
“Delightful...A gracious and humane tale...One can only marvel at Austers artistry. —The Boston Sunday Globe
“Auster writes in a voice so clear, so mesmerizing, and so profound...[he] is unafraid of his own power, precisely because he has acknowledged humiliations alchemy, its way of letting words vibrate at whatever weird, golden velocity they wish, Hand to Mouth vibrates...beautiful.” —Wayne Koestenbaum, Bookforum
“Required, inspiring reading for Auster-holics and aspiring writers.” —Kirkus Reviews
“An engaging account of his early attempts to stay afloat as a writer...with a colorful cast of sharply etched characters who he meets along the way.” —Chicago Tribune
“As a cautionary tale for writers, this is a superb book.” —Publishers Weekly
Paul Austers Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure
is a fascinating and often funny memoir about his early years as a writer struggling to be published, and to make enough money to survive. Leaving high school with “itchy feet” and refusing to play it safe, Auster avoided convention and the double life of steady office employment while writing. From the streets of New York City, Dublin, and Paris to a surreal adventure in a dusty village in Mexico, Austers account of living on next to nothing introduces an unforgettable cast of characters while examining what it means to be a writer.
About the Author
previous novel, Timbuktu
, was a national bestseller, as was I Thought My Father Was God,
the NPR National Story Project anthology, which he edited. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. The Book of Illusions
is his tenth novel.