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La invención de la soledad by Paul Auster

La invención de la soledad (original 1982; edition 1994)

by Paul Auster

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1,555169,029 (3.71)17
So begins Paul Auster's moving and personal meditations on fatherhood. The first section 'Portrait of an Invisible Man', reveals Auster's memories and feelings after the death of his father. In 'The Book of Memory' the perspective shifts to Auster's role as a father. The narrator, 'A', contemplates his separation from his son, his dying grandfather and the solitary nature of writing and storytelling.… (more)
Title:La invención de la soledad
Authors:Paul Auster
Info:Barcelona Anagrama D.L. 1994
Collections:Your library

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The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster (1982)


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English (11)  French (3)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Like many other reviewers, I enjoyed the first part of the book, the second part, not so much. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
"Impossible, I realize, to enter another’s solitude. If it is true that we can ever come to know another human being, even to a small degree, it is only to the extent that he is willing to make himself known. A man will say: I am cold. Or else he will say nothing, and we will see him shivering. Either way, we will know that he is cold. But what of the man who says nothing and does not shiver?" ( )
  bcpeterson727 | Dec 4, 2019 |
The second section, "The Book of Memory", was a very interesting thing to read. I found myself switching within a page from maddening boredom (luckily i read most of it on a plane) to intense interest (i wished i was in a library so i could chase down some of the allusions) and back. Overall, it felt like the author was slowly wading through the bog of his own loss and pity, trying to think himself back out to normality.
It's a self-referential, introspective, literate, personal investigation of memory, identity, maturity (and childhood), solitude, art, Pinocchio, Jonah, Rembrandt, Van Gaugh, baseball, magic ... When it intersected with my own interests it was really great, lots to consider, to quote, to remember. But when he lost me, he lost me quicker than any writer i can remember, sometimes mid-paragraph. ( )
  andrewlorien | Jan 29, 2015 |
Granted, the first section dealing with the death of his father was nothing short of amazing. I loved it as have most who have read it and felt it necessary to say something about their personal experience. And yes, the second section, The Book of Memory did focus on his son Daniel and I think he used Daniel as a conduit in which to enable his own act of recollection. The second section dealt with his marriage and divorce from his first wife, his time living in France, the mirrors and rhymes of his life that seemed to be reflected more often than not. The section bogged down on me early but only because I believed Auster might resort to a pitiful voice I have heard in some of his later works, that being too much involved in the sentimental and his even acting silly about it at times. But that wasn't the case at all. It was philosophically moving, it was based on memory and recollection, it was a vehicle in which he could try his hand at writing something besides poems and translations. Auster was learning for himself on the page what it meant to be a writer. He was saving himself. He was looking for the uncanny in his life, the unheimliche, and he quoted Freud and others in the process of his demonstrating to us his seriousness in getting to the bottom of this writing craft.

From Wikipedia: The uncanny (Ger. Das Unheimliche - "the opposite of what is familiar") is a Freudian concept of an instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange or uncomfortably familiar. Because the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates cognitive dissonance within the experiencing subject due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time. This cognitive dissonance often leads to an outright rejection of the object, as one would rather reject than rationalize.

I was wrong about my thinking the second section of this book was of measure less than the first. It was a very good memoir, an important attempt for Auster in which to begin his long, literary accomplishment. We should all wish to be so lucky. ( )
  MSarki | Mar 31, 2013 |
The Invention of Solitude contains two exquisite essays/memoirs, "Portrait of an Invisible Man," Auster's reminiscences about his difficult-to-pin-down father, and "The Book of Memory," an intoxicating longer memoir about memory, writing and experience. In both cases, but especially in the latter work, the prose is often somewhat dense and quite often dreamlike in nature, but at the same time almost impossibly precise, as if it were necessary for Auster to first blur the lens before sharpening the view to hone in directly on his point. I found myself frequently astonished. There were a dozen passages that made me think, while I was reading them, "I'll quote that." But I'll just quote this one:

". . . For a man to remember so precisely things he had seen only once, things which could not have had any bearing on his life except for a fleeting instant, struck A. with all the force of a supernatural act. He realized that for Ponge there was no division between the work of writing and the work of seeing. For no word can be written without first having been seen, and before it finds its way to the page it must first have been part of the body, a physical presence that one has lived with in the same way one lives with one's heart, one's stomach, and one's brain. Memory, then, not so much as the past contained within us, but as proof of our life in the present. If a man is to be truly present among his surroundings, he must be thinking not of himself, but of what he sees. He must forget himself in order to be there. And from that forgetfulness arises the power of memory. It is a way of living one's life so that nothing is ever lost." ( )
1 vote rocketjk | Sep 1, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Auster, Paulprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eulen, AnneliesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmitz, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Etsiessäsi totuutta valmistaudu odottamattomaan,
sillä sitä on vaikea löytää ja löytyessään se hämmentää.

— Herakleitos
In searching out the truth be ready for the unexpected, for it is difficult to find and puzzling when you find it.

- Heraclitus
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One day there is a life. A man, for example, in the best of health, not even old, with no history of illness. Everything is as it was, as it will always be.
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So begins Paul Auster's moving and personal meditations on fatherhood. The first section 'Portrait of an Invisible Man', reveals Auster's memories and feelings after the death of his father. In 'The Book of Memory' the perspective shifts to Auster's role as a father. The narrator, 'A', contemplates his separation from his son, his dying grandfather and the solitary nature of writing and storytelling.

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