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Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure…
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Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure (1997)

by Paul Auster

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
this is a combo book. the first part is a memoir, then there are 3 plays and 1 detective novel. i have thus far not really liked paul auster's writing all that much, but i liked his memoir. the first of the 3 plays i liked the best, and know that it needs some kind of graduate class in existentialism to really understand, but i liked what i think he was getting at. the other two plays much less so, although i'm sure they're also really brilliant in their esoteric way, they're just too esoteric for me. the novel was so different from his usual style that i should have loved it, but it was so overwritten. i think this was probably intentional, and as i don't read many 'private i' books, i can't make a comparison. i read a bit of it out loud and it sounded like the voiceover from who framed roger rabbit - that kind of overblown language, overuse of metaphors, etc. but compelling enough to keep reading. and i always enjoy his baseball references and how much he obviously loves the game. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
A pathetic self-serving attempt by an otherwise very good writer. There is nothing of worth in this memoir. For a person of Auster's literary stature, I am surprised he would want this out there. It just was not that interesting and it was written as chronological straight reportage. In the long run, this will not help Auster's standing in the literary canon. ( )
  MSarki | Mar 31, 2013 |
Mildly interesting, but still dragging in portions. This is my first Auster and I'm told that this is not his best, so I will give him another chance. Not a bad book, but not quite at 4-stars. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
OK, the memoir bit is interesting. Of course it's beautifully written, and it gives some insight into some of the formative experiences which led to Auster becoming the writer he is, and has a few good and strange anecdotes; however, on both of these counts, it's nowhere near as compelling as The Invention of Solitude. I found the book really disappointing mainly because the memoir section is so short. The vast bulk of this book is made up of the appendices, which are three of Auster's early and previously unpublished plays. I had no idea when I started reading it that this was the case - that it is, essentially, the three plays with a longish introduction. Hence when I got to p.125 of a 436-page long book, and realised that there was no more of the autobiography section, I felt somewhat cheated. Committed Auster fans will want to have read this, but it's not worth going out of your way to track it down.
  eccentrica | Jan 4, 2010 |
En selvbiografi om det å leve av kunsten (som forfatter). ( )
  Rose-Marie | Sep 14, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805054065, Hardcover)

It's no wonder that Paul Auster (The Music of Chance, Leviathan, Mr. Vertigo) creates such singular characters. While his youth comprised a series of failures too unbelievable for fiction, it also equipped him with a range of experiences to draw from that most fiction writers only dream of. He worked with Bowery bums at a summer camp, had a childhood friend join the Weather Underground, and was a student at Columbia in 1968 at the height of the student uprisings there (and at which point, he boasts, he knew seven of the FBI's ten most wanted men). He worked on an oil tanker, for a French Mafia-style film producer in Paris, and for a rare-book organization in New York. He translated the North Vietnamese constitution from French into English (don't ask). His work brought him in contact to varying extents with Jean Genet, Mary McCarthy, Jerzy Kosinski, Sartre, Foucault, and John Lennon. The encounters and experiences must have been fascinating, failure aside, but Auster's prose here, sadly, lacks the tightness and luster of his fiction. The remainder--and major portion--of the volume consists of three plays, a baseball card game, and a detective novel, all written during this time.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:31 -0400)

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