“Young Adult” literature in the spotlight at a festival in Lausanne

“Young Adult” literature in the spotlight at a festival in Lausanne
“Young Adult” literature in the spotlight at a festival in Lausanne

Paul Auster, a prolific American author of novels, poems and films, has died of complications from lung cancer at the age of 77, the New York Times announced Tuesday. He was propelled onto the international literary scene by his “New York Trilogy”.

The writer died at his home in Brooklyn, New York (United States), family friend Jacki Lyden said in an email to AFP, after informing the New York Times. “Paul passed away this evening, at home, surrounded by his loved ones,” Ms Lyden wrote on Tuesday.

His wife, the writer Siri Hustvedt, announced last year that he was suffering from cancer. At the end of August, in a long, poignant post on Instagram, accompanied by photos of the young couple, she indicated that Paul Auster was not out of the woods, after having announced six months earlier, on the same social network, her husband’s cancer treated in New York.

“We have not yet passed the ‘You are leaving Cancerland’ sign which marks the country’s border,” she said. Comparing her husband’s fate to that of “sick children”, she estimated that “Paul (had) many years behind him, his childhood, his youth, adulthood” and that “he (was) today ‘now old.’

Reflections and pretenses

Born in 1947 in the state of New Jersey, Paul Auster became a New York literary icon. Author of around thirty books, he has been translated into more than 40 languages. Several of his novels explore the theme of chance and coincidences which change the destiny of his characters.

In “City of Glass”, “Revenants” and “The Hidden Room” which form the “Trilogy”, its characters go in search of their identity like detectives in the labyrinth of Manhattan bristling with skyscrapers where everything It’s all reflections and pretenses.

This descendant of Ashkenazi Jews studied French, Italian and British literature at Columbia University in New York. After his studies, he lived in Paris from 1971 to 1975 and translated French poets, but he had to take on more jobs before he could make a living from his books.

The inheritance from his father, who died in 1979, allowed him to devote himself to writing.

Revered in France

The writer became known in 1982 with “The Invention of Solitude”, an autobiographical novel in which he attempts to understand the personality of his father.

The novelist broke through on the international scene in 1987, particularly in Europe, with his “New York Trilogy”, a noir novel inspired by the detective genre.

Also a screenwriter, Paul Auster contributed to the film “Smoke”, which portrays lost souls revolving around a Brooklyn tobacco shop, and its sequel “Brooklyn Boogie”, two films he directed with Wayne Wang.

Among his other successful works are “Moon Palace”, “The Book of Illusions” and “Brooklyn Follies”. A revered writer in France, which he considers his “second country”, he received the Foreign Medici Prize for “Leviathan” in 1993.

Democrat displayed

An avowed Democrat, he denounced the Bush years in one of his books.

In April 2022, he lost his son Daniel Auster, 44, whom he had with the writer Lydia Davis, his first wife. The latter died of an “accidental overdose” in New York after being charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death at the end of 2021, also by overdose, of his daughter Ruby, only ten months old.

Despite being diagnosed with cancer the same year, he completed a final book with a nostalgic tone, “Baumgartner”, a “tender and miraculous little book”, in the words of his wife Siri Hustvedt.

This article was automatically published. Sources: ats / blg / afp

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