Paul Auster, prolific American writer and filmmaker, dies at 77

The novelist gained renown for his acclaimed “New York Trilogy,” a postmodern take on detective fiction.

James Leigh (with inputs from The Wall Street Journal)
Published1 May 2024, 10:48 PM IST
Paul Auster wrote more than 30 books and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The American author and filmmaker died at 77.
Paul Auster wrote more than 30 books and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The American author and filmmaker died at 77.(Getty Images)

Paul Auster, the prolific American novelist behind the acclaimed “New York Trilogy,” has died. He was 77 years old.

He died at his home in Brooklyn on Tuesday from complications from lung cancer, according to the Associated Press and his friend and fellow writer Jacki Lyden. He was surrounded by his wife and family.

Auster was born in 1947 to Jewish parents in Newark, N.J. In an interview with the Guardian last year, he recalled a childhood incident when a boy standing next to him was killed by a lightning strike. “Being right next to a boy who was essentially murdered by the gods changed my whole view of the world,” he said.

After graduating from Columbia University in 1970 and working several odd jobs (including an attempt at writing pornography which he abandoned because “I ran out of synonyms”) Auster moved to Paris for several years before returning to the U.S. where he made a living as a translator of French literature.d

Auster wrote more than 30 books and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and voted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the AP said.

“The Invention of Solitude,” a memoir that dealt with the death of his father, garnered favorable reviews upon its publication in 1982. He gained renown for the series of novels that would become the New York Trilogy. The series, comprising “City of Glass,” “Ghosts” and “The Locked Room,” is a postmodern take on detective fiction that examines existential themes of identity and knowledge.

These themes would be explored in his subsequent fiction, particularly in “Moon Palace,” “Leviathan” and “Timbuktu,” the latter of which is told through the eyes of Mr. Bones, a dog struggling to deal with the fact that his master is dying.

His 800-page novel “4 3 2 1,” published in 2017, was a finalist for the Booker Prize.

Auster also wrote and directed several films, including the 1995 independent film “Smoke,” starring Harvey Keitel and William Hurt, about a Brooklyn smoke shop and its diverse clientele. He and co-director Wayne Wang followed with a sequel, the largely improvised “Blue in the Face.”

Auster’s own life was struck by tragedy in 2022 when his son Daniel from his first marriage to writer Lydia Davis died from a drug overdose after he was charged with the death of his 10-month-old daughter, Ruby.

In 2023, Auster’s wife Siri Hustvedt revealed that her husband had been diagnosed with cancer. He published his final novel “Baumgartner,” last year.

Auster is survived by Hustvedt and their daughter Sophie.

Write to James Leigh at james.leigh@wsj.com

Catch all the Budget News , Business News , Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.

MoreLess
First Published:1 May 2024, 10:48 PM IST
HomeNewsPaul Auster, prolific American writer and filmmaker, dies at 77

Get Instant Loan up to ₹10 Lakh!

  • Employment Type

    Most Active Stocks

    Bharat Electronics

    312.60
    03:59 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    6.3 (2.06%)

    Zee Entertainment Enterprises

    134.60
    03:59 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    -2.95 (-2.14%)

    Tata Steel

    160.35
    03:57 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    2.6 (1.65%)

    Wipro

    505.75
    03:59 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    -51.5 (-9.24%)
    More Active Stocks

    Market Snapshot

    • Top Gainers
    • Top Losers
    • 52 Week High

    Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertil

    235.05
    03:53 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    21.1 (9.86%)

    NBCC India

    184.85
    03:52 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    13.05 (7.6%)

    Indian Hotels Company

    620.20
    03:54 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    42.95 (7.44%)

    Chalet Hotels

    820.00
    03:29 PM | 22 JUL 2024
    55.9 (7.32%)
    More from Top Gainers

    Recommended For You

      More Recommendations

      Gold Prices

      • 24K
      • 22K
      Bangalore
      75,510.000.00
      Chennai
      75,657.000.00
      Delhi
      75,217.000.00
      Kolkata
      75,144.000.00

      Fuel Price

      • Petrol
      • Diesel
      Bangalore
      102.86/L0.00
      Chennai
      100.98/L0.00
      Kolkata
      104.95/L0.00
      New Delhi
      94.72/L0.00
      OPEN IN APP
      HomeMarketsPremiumInstant LoanBudget