Winter Journal, Paul Auster

winterjournal„And in the end the doves whisper into his ears, the words of the mass, the repetitions over and over into his ears, and somewhere else I whisper into your ears, messages, messages from me to you, about the back of your knees and the inside of your elbows and the impression above your upper lip, from me to you even if you are now away. I whisper like the birds in the story I read to you, repetitions in the room where you took me. The parts are the same but changing, always in movement, altering imperceptibly like the expression on your face from a smile seriousness leaning over me in the thin light”.

A month before his 64th birthday. The autumn of life is heading towards the coldest time of all times. That was the thought which evoked in Paul Auster the sense that he’s getting older. The pace of life was getting smaller, then it rushed suddenly until the moment and place filled with memories.

Those memories have stirred the urge to write a novel, in which the main protagonist is the author himself. The crowd of people, who he passed by and with whom he has met; the houses where he lived and days that went by. Paul Auster recalls women whom he touched and people he missed. He comes back to places where he wrote his first literary works and to those moments of both solitude and the company of his beloved ones. And Austen is brutally honest in all of these recollections. It seems that Winter Journal is his deathbed confession. As if he confesses to his nearest and dearest but mostly to himself.

„Your wife tolerates your weaknesses and does not rant or scold, and if she worries, it is only because she wants you to live forever”.

The author puts a lot of emphasis on the presence of his wife Siri, as she appears to be the woman who brought order into his life. Moreover, Auster describes his sweetheart as a place of refuge for the lost man tugged by the desires of the past. Traveling through many places, from Europe and America, he describes his life as a journey of a relentless wanderer who looks for his place in the world. And he finally finds it.

„A door has closed. Another door has opened. You have entered the winter of your life”.

Paul Auster is one of those writers who can create an intimate bond with the reader. His books were very often awarded and his bestsellers are recognized all around the world. His literary output also includes the screenplays for films such as Smoke, Lulu on the Bridge and Brooklyn Boogie.

Author: Katarzyna Anita Piotrowska
Translation: Dorota Osińska