by Paul Auster
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On January 3, 2011, exactly one month before his sixty-fourth birthday, Paul Auster sat down and wrote the first entry of Winter Journal, his unorthodox, beautifully wrought examination of his own life, as seen through the history of his body. Composed in the manner of a musical fugue, the journal advances from one autobiographical fragment to the next, jumping backward and forward in time as the various themes intersect, bounce off one another, and ultimately merge in a great chorus of multiple voices, of one voice multiplied into many. Writing in the second person, as if addressing himself as a stranger, which at the same time establishes an uncanny intimacy with the reader, Auster takes us from childhood to the brink of old age as he summons forth a universe of physical sensation, of pleasures and pains, moving from the awakening sexual desire as an adolescent to the ever deepening bonds of married love, from the shocks of violent accidents to an account of his mother's sudden death in 2002, from meditations on eating and sleeping to the "scalding, epiphanic moment of clarity" in 1978 that set him on a new course as a writer. Thirty years after the publication of The Invention of Solitude, his first book of prose, Paul Auster has now given us a second memoir of uncommon power and grace. Winter Journal is a book that looks straight into the heart of what it means to be alive.
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