Paul Auster’s Jewish parents, born in the United States, are from Central Europe. Very early in contact with books through the library of an uncle translator, Paul Auster began writing at the age of 12, shortly before playing baseball, a theme present in many of his novels. From 1965 to 1967, he was a student at Columbia University (French, Italian and English literature). He began translating French authors (Jacques Dupinet André du Bouchet) and discovered Paris. He returned there in 1967 after escaping the Vietnam War, wanted to make films and failed the IDHEC entrance exam. He writes scripts for silent films that will not materialize, but will later be used in The Book of Illusions.
Then begins a decade of difficulties[ref. desired]. Paul Auster wrote articles for magazines, began the first versions of Anna Blume’s Voyage and Moon Palace, worked on an oil tanker, returned to France for a three-year stay (1971-1974) where he lived from his translations (Mallarmé,Sartre, Simenon), and wrote poems and plays in one act.
In 1979, when he had just divorced and had tried in vain to have a detective novel published under the pseudonym “Paul Benjamin” (entitled: Fausse Balle), the death of his father brought him a small inheritance that brought him back to life and inspired The Invention of Solitude. L’Art de la faim was published in 1982, in 1985 it was a prose collection, Espaces blancs, followed soon by Effigies et Murales in 1987, Fragments du froid and Dans la tourmente in 1988 and Disparitions in 1993.
Paul Auster is finally beginning to be recognized as a major writer. From 1986 (release of Cité de verre) to 1994 (Mr. Vertigo), he published major novels such as Moon Palace and Léviathan. He then returned to film, adapting with director Wayne Wang his short story Auggie Wren’s Christmas. Smoke and Brooklyn Boogie were released in 1995. Paul Auster directed Lulu on the Bridge (1997) which was not well received by critics.
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