Here and Now: Letters (2008-2011)

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Overview

The high-spirited correspondence between New York Times bestselling author Paul Auster and Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee

Although Paul Auster and J. M. Coetzee had been reading each other’s books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis and, “God willing, strike sparks off each other.”

Here and Now is the result ...

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Here and Now: Letters 2008-2011

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Overview

The high-spirited correspondence between New York Times bestselling author Paul Auster and Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee

Although Paul Auster and J. M. Coetzee had been reading each other’s books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis and, “God willing, strike sparks off each other.”

Here and Now is the result of that proposal: the epistolary dialogue between two great writers who became great friends. Over three years their letters touched on nearly every subject, from sports to fatherhood, film festivals to incest, philosophy to politics, from the financial crisis to art, death, family, marriage, friendship, and love.

Their correspondence offers an intimate and often amusing portrait of these two men as they explore the complexities of the here and now and is a reflection of two sharp intellects whose pleasure in each other’s friendship is apparent on every page.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Michael Dirda
Here and Now might be described as snack food for serious readers. In its pages, two fine novelists discuss friendship, sports, the writing life, politics, cellphones, Samuel Beckett, computers, incest, the letter K, Israel, favorite films, vicious reviewers, old age, perfectionism and much else…This is civilized discourse between two cultivated and sophisticated men. Not much of what they say is really new or surprising, but it's a pleasure to be in their company.
Library Journal
Can you imagine a conversation between these two great writers, the sharp, cerebral Auster and the Nobel prize-winning Coetzee? Here is a conversation, a collection of the correspondence they began shortly after meeting in 2008. Your literati will love.
Kirkus Reviews
A genial, often riveting exchange of letters between American novelist Auster (Winter Journal, 2010, etc.) and the South African (now an Australian citizen) Nobel laureate Coetzee (Scenes from Provincial Life, 2012, etc.). Although Coetzee, 72, is seven years older than Auster, the two writers and friends have many things in common--a fascination with sports (not always the same ones), liberal politics, a sadness about the decline of the book, a love of travel and language, admiration for their spouses and a willingness to respond thoughtfully and respectfully to issues the other correspondent raises. There are some features missing that readers will expect: an introduction explaining the genesis of their friendship and the idea for the publication; an explanation of why the letters stopped (or have they stopped?); annotations. But the bounties cancel cavils. Both acknowledge the importance of admiration in friendship, an observation that leads them into a recurring discussion about sports. Auster writes powerfully (here and elsewhere) about baseball; Coetzee enjoys tennis and writes admiringly of Roger Federer. The letters are not heavily literary. There are some discussions of Beckett, Dostoyevsky and Derrida, but nothing too cerebral. Auster muses about how critics jumped him for his portrayal of an older man's sexual affair with a 17-year-old in Sunset Park but had little to say about the incest in his Invisible. Coetzee speculates that American poetry has declined; Auster effectively and respectfully counters. There are also quotidian concerns--travel plans, food, sleep habits, etc. Auster periodically raves about his wife, writer Siri Hustvedt, and talks a little about the writing of Winter Journal. The authors also discuss films (a passion for both), and we learn that Auster is a bit of a Luddite--he uses a typewriter and has no cellphone, and the writers exchanged many of these letters via fax machine. Amiable and revealing missives from two remarkable minds.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670026661
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • Publication date: 3/7/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 856,620
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Auster is the bestselling author of The New York Trilogy and many other critically acclaimed novels. He was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in 2006. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

J. M. Coetzee is the author of twenty books, which have been translated into many languages. He is the first author to be awarded the Booker Prize twice: first for Life & Times of Michael K and then for Disgrace. In 2003 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. A native of South Africa, he now lives in Australia.

Biography

Much later, when he was able to think about the things that happened to him, he would conclude that nothing was real except chance. But that was much later. In the beginning, there was simply the event and its consequences.

This sentence from the opening of Paul Auster's first novel, City of Glass, could also serve as a template for the author's career, both in circumstance and theme. City of Glass is perhaps the best known of Auster's postmodern detective New York Trilogy, which is rounded out by Ghosts and The Locked Room. Though the novels nominally involve cases to be solved, at base they are about the mystery of identity and how easily it can be lost or altered. In City of Glass, a mystery writer mistakenly receives a phone call for detective Paul Auster and assumes his identity, becoming embroiled in a case. The trilogy was a welcome breath of fresh air for both detective stories and postmodernist writing, and it put Auster on the publishing map.

Setting out to write his subsequent novel, Auster kept in mind the subtitle "Anna Blume Walks Through the 20th Century." The result was a woman's post-apocalyptic urban journey, In the Country of Last Things. Subsequent works such as Moon Palace, The Music of Chance, Leviathan, and Mr. Vertigo offered heroes caught up in strange worlds, playing out their stories over existential subtexts. The Music of Chance carries references from Beckett's Waiting for Godot in its story about a drifter who ends up teaming with a card player named Jack Pozzi to hustle two wealthy eccentrics in a fateful poker game. In Mr. Vertigo, a boy who has the ability to levitate goes on the road in the 1920s as "the Wonder Boy," moving through a panorama of pre-Depression America.

Auster's ability to blur the line between fantasy and reality has resulted in unique stories that never operate solely as good yarns. The New York Times wrote of Leviathan -- a dead man's coincidence-ridden story, as narrated by his friend -- "Thus in the literary looking glass of Leviathan, in which things are not always what they seem, our pleasure in reading the story is enhanced by the challenge of making other connections." Auster's fondness for allegory has earned him both praise for his cleverness and criticism from reviewers who, even as they praise his talent, occasionally find him heavy-handed.

The director Philip Haas adapted The Music of Chance for the 1993 film starring James Spader and Mandy Patinkin. But it was Wayne Wang who drew Auster to the movie business in earnest, convincing him to write the screenplay for 1995's Smoke, which was adapted from the short story "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story." The film did well enough to get producer Miramax on board for a sequel bringing back star Harvey Keitel, Blue in the Face. This time, Auster not only wrote the script but co-directed with Wang; he later went full-fledged auteur with the 1998 film (also starring Keitel) Lulu on the Bridge.

In 1999, Auster made the unconventional choice of writing from a canine's point of view in Timbuktu -- although as Auster noted in the Guardian, Mr. Bones "is and isn't a dog." In telling the story of himself and his owner, a homeless "outlaw poet" named Willy G. Christmas, Mr. Bones offers a meditation on mortality, human relationships, and dreams. "If anything," Auster said in a chat with Barnes & Noble.com readers, "I thought of Willy and Mr. Bones as a rather screwball, nutty, latter-day version of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the befuddled knight-errant and his loyal squire." The New York Times called Timbuktu his "most touching, most emotionally accessible book."

Auster earned some of his best reviews with his tenth novel The Book of Illusions, about a widower who develops an obsession with an obscure silent-film star and is surprised with an invitation to meet the presumed-dead actor. Book magazine called it "certainly his best...the book [has] the drive and dazzle reminiscent of the classic hardboiled yarns of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett."

Auster is an author who, in both his fiction and his nonfiction, rekindles hope for the romantic, the coincidental, and the magical in everyday life. He does this not with fantastic story lines but by heightening the significance of twists and coincidences that happen to us all the time -- if we approach things in a certain light, our lives become like movies. Auster spins the projector.

Good To Know

Auster's wife Siri Hustvedt, whom he met in 1981, is also a novelist and essayist; writing about her novel The Blindfold, the Village Voice Literary Supplement called Hustvedt "a writer of strong, sometimes astonishing gifts." Auster's first wife was writer Lydia Davis.

Desperately poor in the late '70s and working unhappily as a French translator to make ends meet, Auster wrote a detective novel called Squeeze Play to make some money. He also invented a card game called Action Baseball that he tried to sell to game manufacturers. However, Squeeze Play is "not a legitimate book," he told the Guardian; it was published under a pseudonym. Later, an inheritance from his father allowed Auster the financial freedom to focus more on his writing.

Auster has enjoyed a remarkably international following, even in the days before his Hollywood projects raised his profile; his novels have been translated into several languages, and web sites from Germany to Japan pay him homage.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Paul Benjamin
    2. Hometown:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 3, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newark, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A., M.A., Columbia University, 1970

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    Posted December 9, 2013

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    Flame was born into a group of ruthless rogues and loners. His mother was automatically killed after kitting. He had a sister, but all females were tossed away because they thought of them as weak. She was left to die. No one knows if she survived. Flame was taken in by this group, but only cared for for the first moon. After that, he was told to fend for himself. He learned to hunt at one moon with no help. After turning two moons, he was tricked and taken to the cutters and they implanted a chip on him, which had th unfortunate ability to sense when others implanted were nearby. The rogues started his training shortly after that. He often went to bed bruised and bloody, after having no time to even drink water. By the time he was three moons, they started torturing him and messing with his parts. They used him like a toy, because he was already weak. When he turned five moons, he left in the middle of the night, and had been on the run when valour found him.

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