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A Farewell to Paul Auster

Auster and Peres. Wikipedia, David Shankbone

Last evening (Tuesday), Paul Auster, one of the greatest Jewish and American writers in the world, passed away. The 77-year-old Auster is considered by many to be one of the most important living writers, and his death is a blow to the world of literature and liberal arts; but it also gives an opportunity to go back and review his impressive life, full of work, human experience, and writing.

Auster was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1947, to an average Jewish family – a classic native of the Baby Boom generation. He travelled the world and gained experience and perspective, while at the same time doing a master’s degree in literature at Columbia University (he was not recruited to fight in Vietnam due to medical circumstances). In the 70s, he began to work in occasional manual Labor, and at the same time as a writer; in the first decade of his work, it seemed that there was no progress in his career, which he might soon have to give up.

But in the 80s, Auster scored for the top of the literary world, mainly thanks to the ‘New York trilogy’ – three detective novels written between 1985 and 1986, with semi-autobiographical elements, and with a unique style later characterized by many as post-modernist. Auster continued to write a book every few years, and most of them became international bestsellers. His most recent big book, 4321, is nearly a thousand pages long, and includes four different versions of the protagonist’s life.

Auster was married twice, to two well-known writers, Lydia Davis (short and comic stories) and Siri Hostevedt (a theoretical essayist). He had one son, Daniel (who died along with his granddaughter in tragic circumstances due to an drug overdose in 2022), and one daughter, Sophie. Ideologically, Auster was a supporter of Israel and the Zionist movement, and was always proud of his Jewish identity and family history. Auster must be mourned as an impressive representative of Judaism in the eyes of the American and global public, and there must also be joy and pride in his impressive life.

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