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Auggie Wren's Christmas Story Hardcover – October 14, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (October 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805077235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805077230
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,436,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Auster fans will recognize Auggie Wren as the proprietor of a Brooklyn cigar store in the film Smoke (1995), written by Auster and starring Harvey Keitel as Auggie. But before smoke came a burning dilemma: the New York Times invites Auster to write a Christmas story, and he is at a total loss. So he confides in Auggie, who says, in the best fairy-tale mode, "If you buy me lunch, my friend, I'll tell you the best Christmas story you ever heard. And I guarantee that every word of it is true." And so the writer listens carefully to the smoke-shop owner's tale of a young shoplifter, a lonely blind woman, and an impromptu Christmas dinner. And even if readers have heard the tale before, they will be enraptured anew, because that's how Christmas stories work. We want to read them over and over again. And this little volume is a jewel, not only because Auster is such a dazzling and canny storyteller but also because of Argentine artist ISOL's superbly jazzy illustrations. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Thoroughly enjoyable...Auster's subtly crafted portrayal of the mechanics of reality is eminently realistic in its complexity and flaws." --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Paul Auster is the bestselling author of Travels in the Scriptorium, The Brooklyn Follies, and Oracle Night. I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project anthology, which he edited, was also a national bestseller. His work has been translated into thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

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See all 8 customer reviews
Auggie Wren runs a store where you can buy tobacco and magazines.
Jan Dierckx
This is a warm and somewhat sentimental story, despite what the author hoped for, about the spirit of the holidays in the tradition of O. Henry's Gift of the Magi.
Nancy R. Katz
In this slim book, Paul Auster authors a new version of a Christmas Story.
Jon Linden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Miller on December 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Auster succeeded in what he attempted to accomplish: to create an unsentimental Christmas story. The story is surprisingly effective, in that the reader is not entirely certain of what direction the plot is going. This slim book -- little more than an elongated article -- is pure, forced action. One event closely follows another. What I enjoyed about it is the series of moral dilemmas offered up to the reader. Should Auggie have turned in the thief? Was it a wise choice to visit the thief's home? Should he have stayed with the grandmother? And should he have taken the camera that he found in the bathroom? If he had not done any of these actions, then we would not have today the collection of Auggie Wren's a-picture-a-day. Does the end justify the means? I read this book to my two sons and had a very interesting discussion regarding the choices that Auggie made. This book, in combination with Auster's "I Thought My Father Was God," makes for worthwhile discussions around small, fascinating stories. The beautiful illustrations by the artist ISOL merit close study.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jan Dierckx on April 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Auggie Wren runs a store where you can buy tobacco and magazines. One day a youth steels a few paperbacks and Augggie Wren runs after him. The young man loses his wallet and Auggie stops to pick it up. He looks in the wallet and finds the address

of what turns out to be the grandmother of our young delinquent. ( I can't tell anymore without spoiling the plot ).

Film director Wayne Wang was seduced by this little story and it was he who persuaded Paul Auster to write the script for "Smoke". (1994).

The present edition of "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story" has two parts. The first part is a kind of introduction and uses a scene from the film where Auggie shows his photo collection to Paul. Even in this introduction reality and fiction are intertwined to become one and the same.(And isn't this the true value of literature, to erase the borderline between dreams and every day reality ?).

The second part is the story like it was told by Harvey Keitel in "Smoke".

At the end Paul Auster says: " As long as there's one person to believe it, there's no story that can't be true."
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jon Linden VINE VOICE on December 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this slim book, Paul Auster authors a new version of a Christmas Story. The book recounts a very interesting story about what Christmas means to so many. It represents a time of hopefullness and wishes that people have and how they may come true.

The obvious similarity between Auster's story and O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi" involves the giving of gifts, one person to another, but not in the regular way we give gifts at Christmas. In this book, by a simple twist of fate, Auggie Wren, the protagonist comes upon a wallet, that was dropped. For a long time, Auggie just keeps the wallet, but eventually he attempts to give it back to its owner.

Upon arrival at the owner's house, it turns out, that he is not there at the time. However, the grandmother of the wallet owner is there. And she is blind. Yet, she allows herself to accept the visit and perhaps the spirit of Christmas by allowing Auggie to represent her grandson, as the Grandmother to believe that he is who she wishes him to be. Likewise, Auggie allows himself to accept a gift that is given in a very unusual manner.

While Auggie believes that even blind, the women knew he was not her grandson, yet she allows Auggie to act as the grandson, because that is her most personal wish at that time. In return for this favor, the grandmother in turn gives unknowingly, a gift to Auggie. Auggie though is bothered by the manner in which he acquired the gift and goes back to return it. When he arrives, the Grandmother no longer is resident at the apartment.

What actually happens to her, Auster never reveals. However, the concept of the story is tightly bound to the giving of gifts, one to another, and with the gifts, there is both sorrow and love.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Nancy R. Katz VINE VOICE on January 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Auggie Wren's Christmas Story by Paul Auster is one of those short books which is fun to read either before, during or even after the holidays.

Paul Auster, the highly regarded author, is asked to write an editorial piece which will appear on Christmas morning in the NY Times. At first Mr. Auster doesn't even want to write the article fearing he has nothing to say, but then he's worn down and agrees to do this. One thing the author knows is he doesn't want to write

anything sentimental. Readers should think of his thoughts as a non Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. When in fact he sits down to write the article, though, he has trouble actually write this unsentimental tale. Days go by and he has nothing written on paper to show for his efforts.

Fearing he may never write this article, Mr. Auster mentions his problem one day to the man who owns a small newspaper and cigar store in his neighborhood. The man, Auggie Wren promises to tell him a Christmas story if he treats him to lunch. And so over lunch the author listens to a tale which is both sentimental and poignant which asks what does a wallet, a blind woman and a camera have to do with each other. More important than the answer which these questions raise are the more important ones like what is true, what is lying and did any or all of these events really ever happen.

This is a warm and somewhat sentimental story, despite what the author hoped for, about the spirit of the holidays in the tradition of O. Henry's Gift of the Magi. Consider buying this title for next Christmas. This book is just perfect as a holiday gift and sure to be a keeper in the future.
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