Synopses & Reviews
Paul Auster's most intimate autobiographical work to date.
In the beginning, everything was alive. The smallest objects were endowed with beating hearts...
Having recalled his life through the story of his physical self in Winter Journal, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster now remembers the experience of his development from within through the encounters of his interior self with the outer world in Report from the Interior.
From his baby's-eye view of the man in the moon, to his childhood worship of the movie cowboy Buster Crabbe, to the composition of his first poem at the age of nine, to his dawning awareness of the injustices of American life, Report from the Interior charts Auster's moral, political, and intellectual journey as he inches his way toward adulthood through the postwar 1950s and into the turbulent 1960s.
Auster evokes the sounds, smells, and tactile sensations that marked his early life — and the many images that came at him, including moving images (he adored cartoons, he was in love with films), until, at its unique climax, the book breaks away from prose into pure imagery: The final section of Report from the Interior recapitulates the first three parts, told in an album of pictures. At once a story of the times — which makes it everyone's story — and the story of the emerging consciousness of a renowned literary artist, this four-part work answers the challenge of autobiography in ways rarely, if ever, seen before.
"In this companion to an earlier memoir also written in the second person, Winter Journal, Auster returns to many of the concerns of his 1950s childhood in South Orange, N.J., that ran like leitmotivs through his young life and helped forge the writer's identity he would embrace by age 22. While Winter Journal explored the 'manifold knocks and pleasures' of aging as well as his parents' unhappy marriage, this volume delves into what had nourished his young mind and heart as a child up until age 12 (he was born in 1947), such as infatuation with early TV characters like Felix the Cat, aviation miracles, the jolt of seeing The War of the Worlds for the first time, meeting Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford (then wondering if he was an imposter), and enduring long stretches of reverie-inducing boredom. Shadows were cast over his youthful obliviousness as he began to 'catch on' to what it meant to be a Jew in America (an outsider, often induced to change his name), to understand the gulf between white and black, rich and poor, and to marvel at the horrors endured by Korean War veterans. Yet 'Interior' serves as only part one of this work, complemented by 'Two Blows to the Head,' elaborate delineation of the plots of two 'cinematic earthquakes' of his youth, The Incredible Shrinking Man and I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang; 'Time Capsule,' a revisiting of the first self-consciously writerly letters Auster wrote as a young Columbia University student to his then girlfriend, Lydia Davis; and photos of the various themes in 'Album.' This erratically episodic, somewhat puzzling compendium rounds out the edges to Auster's oeuvre. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The interplay of memory, identity and the creative imagination informs this portrait of the artist as a young man, a memoir that the novelists avid readership will find particularly compelling….Auster has long rendered life as something of a puzzle; here are some significant, illuminating pieces." Kirkus
About the Author
Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Invisible, The Book of Illusions, and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. He has been awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature, the Prix Médicis Étranger, the Independent Spirit Award, and the Premio Napoli. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.