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Report from the Interior by Paul Auster
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Report from the Interior (2013)

by Paul Auster

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I'm always intrigued with Paul Auster, and I admit he is one of my favorite writers (though there have been some duds over the years, like Timbuktu, or Brooklyn Follies). This one reminded me of the Hunger Artist or Winter Journal. I disagree with the negative reviews, particularly on the second section of the book, with the retelling of The incredible Shrinking Man and other film plots. The act of retelling a movie is not so much ekphrasis as revealing the particular subjectivity of Auster that was formed in having seen a film. I also didn't find the letters indulgent, and what's so irritating about the use of second person? A pronoun is merely rhetorical. The second person creates distance and mirroring. Auster here is indulging in memoir, but he's doing it in fresh experimental ways. ( )
  Richard.Greenfield | Feb 23, 2016 |
This is rare for me. Most Auster books I've read (and I've read most Auster books) would get 3 stars or above. (Many would rate 4 stars.) So I was ready to love this, in it's Audible edition with Auster reading...but, it was fragmented and sometimes felt pointless. I really liked Winter Journal--this is meant to be a companion volume to that--but this didn't hold together as well from my perspective. The movie summaries were entertaining; the initial chapter, charting a young boy's thoughts and perceptions, were wonderful; but it quickly grew self-indulgent and rambling. The discovery of letters to his first wife, Lydia Davis, was, no doubt, important to Auster...not so much to the rest of us. In summation: read Paul Auster's novels! Let this one go. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
Biography, wl2014
  AC.Belgrade | Dec 19, 2014 |
Non so come mai sono arrivato cosi' tardi ad Auster, ma meglio cosi'. Non mi sono giocato subito i migliori. Questo per me e' in quel gruppo: uno dei migliori.
Con un distinguo: la parte finale, di riscrittura (o di finta riscrittura, chissa'?) della "Capsula del tempo" mi è piaciuta meno. La scrittura piu' a scatti, giovanilistica, epistolare, non era nelle mie corde di inizio.
La prima parte, quella relativa all'infanzia, mi e' invece garbata addirittura piu' del giusto.
Quindi, subito in acquisto di un altro, perche' la passione va alimentata sul nascere. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
After the Winter journal described the aging of the body, as an original approach to biography, Report from the interior is Paul Auster's latest publication. It consists of a collection of three texts, each autobiographical: "Report from the interior", "Two blows to the head" and "Time capsule". The quality of these three texts differs greatly, making Report from the interior as a whole a very unbalanced book.

Innovation is not always the way to go. The first text, "Report from the interior" is an autobiographical text, but written in the second person singular "you". This is an appropriate form, as it creates some distance, which benefits the text, as writing about one's earliest youth could have become very tacky and awkward if written in the first person singular. While "Report from the interior" is written as an autobiography of Paul Auster is can almost be read as an autobiography of any (American) "everyman". The text is simulateously as description of the author's youth, as it is a cultural analysis of growing up in the United States through the 1950s and 60s. Many television programmes, films and other cultural landmarks line the "curriculum vitae" of young Paul. Most of "Report from the interior" is still interesting to non-American readers as many television series and films were also aired in other countries, although, possibly, with a time lag. The first part of the book is illustrated with more than 50 pages black-and-white illustrations, referring to American visual culture. In the paperback edition these illustrations are included at the back of the book. Had they been inserted in the text, they would almost have outnumbered the pages with text. Added at the back, however, they are oddly disconnected. It feels like cheap filling.

"Two blows to the head" is the most disappointing section of the book, of almost 75 pages effortless filler. In the first few pages the author asserts that the movie "The incredible shrinking man (1957) had a decisive influence of the author. The following 70+ pages are a detailed retelling of the film. This section is just a waste, a loose filler-up of the most uninteresting twaddle. Supposedly a re-telling does not infringe on the copyright of the film, but it seems the cheapest trick by Auster to date.

However, any of the weakness of the book is made up for in the last section of the book, entitled "Time capsule". This is an engaging piece of relatively conventional autobiographical narrative. It offers a full experience of Auster's rich life experience, his experience in France and his development as a novelist. It makes up for any of the short-comings of the book as a whole. ( )
1 vote edwinbcn | Nov 12, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Auster, Paulprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hastrup, RasmusTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schroderus, ArtoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805098577, Hardcover)

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.

 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:48 -0400)

"Having recalled his life through the story of his physical self in Winter journal ... novelist Paul Auster now remembers the experience of his development from within through the encounters of his interior self with the outer world ... 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, [this book] charts Auster's moral, political, and intellectual journey as he inches his way toward adulthood through the postwar 1950s and into the turbulent 1960s"--… (more)

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