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Winter Journal Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2012: At nearly 64, one of our greatest modern writers is feeling his age. In his quietly transfixing new memoir, Winter Journal, Paul Auster meditates on what it means for his mind, body, and creativity to experience the unforgiving passage of time. This should be--and is--an intensely personal chronicle, but Auster makes the journey equally ours by inviting us into its unfolding. "No doubt you are a flawed and wounded person," he cautions, and suddenly you are. You are the player in this story: running away from your pregnant mother in a department store; learning to wrangle your adolescent hormones; taking an "inventory of your scars, in particular the ones on your face"; marveling at the beauty of your wife as she sleeps; moving in and out of 21 homes, recalling their addresses and aesthetics in astonishing detail. "Writing begins in the body, it is the music of the body," Auster notes. With Winter Journal, he reminds us that it is also the joyful, then melancholy, then reluctantly accepting soundtrack of our full and finite lives. --Mia Lipman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

 

“Auster’s memoir courses gracefully over ground that is frequently rough, jarring and painful . . . But there are summery memories, as well. . . . Some of the loveliest sentences in the text—and there are many—are illuminated by love. . . . A consummate professional explores the attic of his life, converting rumination to art.” – Kirkus (starred review)

“Paul Auster’s narration quickly engages the listener as he shares this very personal examination of his life. He effectively modulates pitch and tone as he recounts milestones and victories with an audible smile and sadly reflects upon tragedies and losses. His pacing varies appropriates from brisk to pensive, and his pleasing baritone adds an extra layer of richness to the presentation. Listeners familiar with the author’s previous body of work will recognize his trademark quirkiness and highly individual style…Hearing these reminiscences and musings in the author’s own voice enhances the intimacy and authenticity of this enjoyable listening experience.” – AudioFile Magazine

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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427225761
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427225764
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,695,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

A bit boring.
Dharma S Khalsa
It's a good book to read in one's sixties or seventies, but, actually, I can recommend it for anyone.
Louis N. Gruber
Perhaps they will know me better if I can get down those inner feelings on paper.
bas bleu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader VINE VOICE on July 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Winter Journal is indeed a journal - a somewhat limited scope style of memoir, however its appeal is anything but limited in scope. It is a not a full-blown memoir, because it is a somewhat generalized stock-taking from the point of view of a mid-sixties-ish Jewish man living in Brooklyn (Mr. Auster): a review of salient themes from the past, undertaken with a view to the future - and weighs in at a relatively slim 230 pages. The scope is Mr. Auster's entire life: from his earliest memories to the moment he removes the nib of his fountain pen from the paper he writes on, with a sometimes staccato and unpredictable selection of moments in between.

There are three sections which serve as themes that I discern, roughly: the body; places; relationships. Each one, while providing part of a united whole, stands somewhat independently, taking the reader on a ride that can be on the surface (I dare not say 'superficial' which none of them are) perhaps consisting lists of favorite childhood candies, uses for one's hands, which on their face might be superficial, but are extremely evocative; or deep, very deep, to the essence of that most basic of questions: who am I; what made me; how do I measure up, whether as a driver, a man, a human being. The detail with which the reader is drawn along is incredible, and is assembled like a Swiss watch: note, for example, that there is virtually no description of a woman who figures in the chronology over a long period, whether of physical attributes or personality (wife #1), but we are given a strong sense of wife #2 who endures.

The story that is told is so true, so real, that any reader who has reached middle age cannot fail to be moved by it.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Brad Teare VINE VOICE on July 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This extremely readable memoir artfully blends the mundane, such as lists where the author lived, with the revelatory, an epiphany while watching a troupe of dancers. There are brief moments where the curmudgeon intrudes, the type who believes the world would be a utopia if everyone conformed to certain ideals. In such moments we glimpse the person Auster would have become had he not met and fell in love with his wife. But Auster himself seems relieved he never succumbed to such a transformation. I admire the author's willingness to record the weaker side of himself (which he does without becoming confessional or trite). Had he not been so honest his story would have been less compelling.

At the heart of the book is an implied yet profound paean for his intelligent and erudite wife who in some ways is the invisible force breathing life into the narrative. Finding such satisfaction becomes a metaphor for Auster's artistic life and his affection lightens writing that otherwise might have been ponderous.

If you have difficulty getting through the occasional lists (I found them interesting but I'm sure some won't) do yourself a favor and press on until the Minnesota visits. They are well told vignettes and an excellent complement to the New York episodes. The powerful zenith of the narrative, the event with the dancers and a trip to Germany, is just around the corner.

I highly recommend this readable and thought provoking memoir.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Moody TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The cover copy describes this as an "unconventional memoir in which [Auster] writes about his mother's life and death." Which is true, but only up to a point. There is one section that deals particularly with the life and death of Auster's mother, but it takes up only about 35 of 230 pages. That material, which also appeared in Granta 117, is easily the strongest in WINTER JOURNAL. Poignant, vivid, imbued simultaneously with his sense of his mother's individual tragedy and his awareness that on another level she must always remain a mystery to him, it's a model of the personal essay. Unfortunately, what surrounds it is (barring a charmingly sentimental description of his second marriage) formless, frequently dull recollections that neither capture Auster's visceral experience nor reveal anything about the human condition. It's all well-written on a basic level, full of long sentences that flow naturally and are never difficult to parse, but beyond that ease of reading there are few rewards.

In Michael Chabon's WONDER BOYS, a character critiques the protagonist's still-incomplete gargantuan novel by suggesting that the inclusion of such details as "the genealogies of the horses" represents an inability to focus. WINTER JOURNAL is very short, but betrays a similar failure of focus. Nearly 60 pages are given over to a descriptive list of Auster's 21 permanent addresses over the years. There's also a catalog of scars and the stories behind them. Of course one appreciates the intimations of mortality and resulting reflections on the past that drove Auster to make these lists, but for readers lacking their own intimations and reflections, the resonance of this journal may be minimal.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Ginger Man VINE VOICE on July 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The beginning of Auster's Journal is a beautiful elegy on aging, memory and the relationship of body and spirit. Auster recounts an intensely personal journey with painfully acquired wisdom and intimations of mortality. He distills in words his "catalog of sensory data" as the book becomes a gift by a beloved author to readers who may be entering a similar stage of life.

In the early pages of Winter Journal, Auster tells of childhood injuries; the scars of which he still carries. What is striking is how well Auster renders the impersonal concreteness of events and suggests that the injuries that we unknowingly escaped may have been far more formidable than those endured. Also recounted are brief moments of remembered weather, illnesses huge and physical indignities small and the joy of playing baseball ("Never a dull moment, in spite of what critics of the game might think.") The car accident that represented his family's instantaneous transition from the quotidian to the cataclysmic is described as well ("as if Zeus had hurled a lightning bolt at you and your family.")

As he moves deeper into the book, the author loses focus a bit from his intended "phenomenology of breathing." But whether listing memories from each of his personal residences, remembering the death of his mother or describing why the film noir movie DOA represents a touchstone for an event in his life, Auster remains interesting, engaging and personal.

A journal can be forgiven for being a bit uneven and episodic. But even with these shortcomings, this small book left me wiser and more a part of my own life than I was when I opened it to begin reading. Its impact may have been heightened for me because of my age and a brush with mortality of my own just this year.
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