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Report from the Interior Hardcover – November 19, 2013
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Internationally revered novelist Auster follows Winter Journal (2012), his body-centric memoir, with a high-wire explication of his inner life, from his child’s sense that “everything was alive” to “the birth of self-consciousness” to his first writing attempts. Auster’s phenomenal literary powers are generated by his equal fluency in matters emotional and cerebral. Here the origins of that sustaining duality are revealed as he recounts his conscious efforts to “toughen up” and fend for himself as a boy in an unhappy Newark household. Auster nurtured himself with two great obsessions, baseball and books. He intricately chronicles his harsh awakenings to the world’s cruelty, revisits his reading passions, and offers long, enrapturing disquisitions on movies that, for him, were “blows to the head.” A cache of his old letters demolishes his tenuous memories of his student years at Columbia University during the Vietnam War protests and solitary sojourns in Maine and Paris. Closing with an “album” of historic photographs, Auster’s piquant self-portrait as a headstrong boy and “floundering boy-man” maps the “internal geography” of a hungry mind catalyzed and sustained by stories. --Donna Seaman
“Intimate, even claustrophobic, this journey into the author's memory banks reads like a primal scream, an attempt to relive his youth and evolution.” ―Oprah Magazine
“Auster should be recognized as one of the great American prose stylists of our time…. [Auster's] autobiographical works are jewels perfectly cut, luminous little books… It would not be inaccurate to describe the first section, which gives the book its title, as perfect.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Report from the Interior is a fetchingly original, if eclectic, examination of what it feels like to be a young person in a puzzle-world that still hasn't fallen into place. We all felt it as children; Auster has simply revisited it and put it into words.” ―Richmond Times-Dispatch
“[Report From the Interior] adds another piece to the jigsaw puzzle of one of our greatest writers.... There are wonderful Austerian twists and ruminations here, making for a satisfying addition to his eclectic canon. ” ―Shelf Awareness
“[Auster is an] achingly talented essayist.” ―Denver Post
“Celebrated author Auster (Sunset Park) observes his own life in this engaging memoir… Auster presents a fascinating take on the memoir. Students and fans will appreciate his original examination of his interior self.” ―Library Journal (Starred)
“A high-wire explication of his inner life… Auster's phenomenal literary powers are generated by his equal fluency in matters emotional and cerebral. Here the origins of that sustaining duality are revealed. ” ―Donna Seaman, Booklist
“The interplay of memory, identity and the creative imagination informs this portrait of the artist as a young man, a memoir that the novelist's avid readership will find particularly compelling…. Auster has long rendered life as something of a puzzle; here are some significant, illuminating pieces.” ―Kirkus
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If you've never seen The Incredible Shrinking Man or Fugitive From a Chain Gang (I've seen both films several times), you may enjoy those stories being told to you, in great detail. However, it seems altogether a better idea to simply watch those great films, rather than having Auster describe them to you. A meticulous retelling of the narrative of these films might have been more effective (for me) if balanced with an equal amount of "interior" musings about why these films had such a profound effect on him. They made a strong impression on me, as well, so I share his enthusiasm to talk about these films.
It's an eclectic mix of writing here that succeeds by being not quite like anything else, and that's always been Auster's greatest gift, I think. It may also inform the way we look at modern memoir.
The views of a kid, an adolescent and a young adult. His perspective as a man after his sixties. A fresh recount of a colourful life.Don't miss...
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Larry T Bowen