This book provides an extended analysis of Paul Auster's essays, poetry, fiction, films and collaborative projects. It explores his key themes of identity; language and writing; metropolitan living and community; and storytelling and illusion. By tracing how Auster's representations of New York and city life have matured from a position of urban nihilism to qualified optimism, the book shows how the variety of forms he works in influences the treatment of his central concerns. The chapters are organised around gradually extending spaces to reflect the way in which Auster's work broadens its focus, beginning with the poet's room and finishing with the global metropolis of New York: his home city and often his muse. The book uses Auster's published and unpublished literary essays to explain the shifts from the dense and introspective poems of the 1970s, through the metropolitan fictions of the 1980s and early 1990s, to the relatively optimistic and critically acclaimed films, and his return to fiction in recent years.
loss and disconnection, language and storytelling, and illusion are
affected by place. Auster moves from urbannihilism to qualified
optimism in his work as he searches for forms of social life and
community in the contemporary metropolis, and the chapters trace
this shift from the early poetry, through the first fictions, to the films
of the 1990s and the subsequent novels.
The chapters trace correspondences between the perspectives of
cultural geography, the phases of identity in Auster’s work, and his
‘ways of telling’ – from poetry, through