American writer, Paul Auster, dies aged 77.


Acclaimed American author of “The New York Trilogy,” Paul Auster, has died at age 77.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1947, he had a great career not only as a celebrated novelist, but also as a translator, essayist, screenwriter and poet, whose work has been published in more than 40 languages.

Multiple media outlets reported that Auster’s death was confirmed by his friend and fellow author Jacki Lyden.

Auster began translating works by French writers when he moved to France after graduating from Columbia University in 1970. It was then that he also began publishing his own works in American periodicals.

His greatest recognition came after the publication of “The New York Trilogy”, a series of experimental detective stories, in 1987. His other best-selling novels also include “4 3 2 1”, “Sunset Park”, “ The Book of Illusions” and “Palácio da Lua”.

Last year, Auster’s wife, writer Siri Hustvedt, revealed that he had cancer. Sharing the news on Instagram, she said he had been diagnosed in December 2022, was undergoing treatment and that she lived in “Cancerland”.

A few months later, Hustvedt posted a photo of her and Auster, with whom she lived for more than four decades, and an update on his condition.

“Watching Paul, I understood what grace looks like under pressure. Robust and uncomplaining, with humor intact, he has made this period of his illness, which has lasted almost a year, beautiful, not ugly,” she wrote.

In addition to being a writer, Auster also worked as a translator, screenwriter and poet.

Much of Auster’s fiction explored the idea of ​​himself and often presented him in veiled incarnations, leading many critics to speculate about the use of autobiography. Another concern in his work was the issue of chance and destiny. The main character of the novel lived 4 alternative lives, in “4 3 2 1”, published in 2017.

An early experience of how life can change in an instant had a great influence on Auster and his writing. In an interview with the  BBC  before the 2012 publication of his autobiographical work “Winter Journal”, Auster said that chance and coincidence are what he described as the “mechanics of reality”.

He explained: “Unexpected things happen to everyone all the time, and in fact, much of life revolves around chance. There are very few necessary facts. I suppose the only ones are: once you are born, you are destined to die and pretty much everything in between is at your disposal.”

Auster then described how, aged just 14, he was hiking with a group of 20 boys when they were caught in a storm. One of his colleagues was struck by lightning and died.

“It absolutely changed my life,” he said. “I think about it every day. It never goes away. It was my first big lesson in the vagaries of life, how unstable everything is, how quickly things can change. From one blink of an eye to the next, the world is totally different.

“Here was a 14-year-old boy, happy, alive and an instant later he was dead.”

The great impact of this episode was on his entire life, he said. “I haven’t lived through wars, pestilences… but this is my experience of war. I guess this is the kind of thing soldiers go through all the time. I was young and it made a huge impression on me, so if you want to talk about my philosophy, that’s the crux of it.”

Auster, who lived in Brooklyn,  New York,  received numerous honors, including Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Literature in 2006. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Commander of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Posting on felt in so many places. We extend our condolences to his wife Siri Hustvedt and his family.”

Source: CNN International