About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Title: HAND TO MOUTH
Publisher: Henry Holt, N.Y. 1997
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Soft cover
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: 1st Edition
About this title
This is the story of a young man's struggle to stay afloat. By turns poignant and comic, Paul Auster's memoir is essentially an autobiographical essay about money--and what it means not to have it. From one odd job to the next, from one failed scheme to another, Auster investigates his own stubborn compulsion to make art and describes his ingenious, often far-fetched attempts to survive on next to nothing. From the streets of New York City and Paris to the rural roads of upstate New York, the author treats us to a series of remarkable adventures and unforgettable encounters and, in several elaborate appixes, to previously unknown work from these years.
It's no wonder that Paul Auster (The Music of Chance, Leviathan, Mr. Vertigo) creates such singular characters. While his youth comprised a series of failures too unbelievable for fiction, it also equipped him with a range of experiences to draw from that most fiction writers only dream of. He worked with Bowery bums at a summer camp, had a childhood friend join the Weather Underground, and was a student at Columbia in 1968 at the height of the student uprisings there (and at which point, he boasts, he knew seven of the FBI's ten most wanted men). He worked on an oil tanker, for a French Mafia-style film producer in Paris, and for a rare-book organization in New York. He translated the North Vietnamese constitution from French into English (don't ask). His work brought him in contact to varying extents with Jean Genet, Mary McCarthy, Jerzy Kosinski, Sartre, Foucault, and John Lennon. The encounters and experiences must have been fascinating, failure aside, but Auster's prose here, sadly, lacks the tightness and luster of his fiction. The remainder--and major portion--of the volume consists of three plays, a baseball card game, and a detective novel, all written during this time.
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