Report from the Interior
by Paul Auster,
The Jerusalem Post, December 6, 2013
Paul Auster launched his career three decades ago with a memoir. In The Invention of Solitude (1982), he began his literary search for identity and personal meaning with an affecting account of his hardworking, emotionally distant father. Recently, after completing more than three dozen volumes of fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry, screenplays and translations, Auster has returned to autobiography. In Winter Journal (2012), he offered a homage to his mother, an examination of the end of his first marriage, and "a catalogue of sensory data" designed to document the fragility of his aging physical self. In Report From The Interior, Auster tries to recreate his perceptions of the outside world, from his birth in Newark, New Jersey, in 1947 to his relationship with his middle-class Jewish parents and his graduation from Columbia University during the tumultuous 1960s. Written in the second person, the memoir has its moments. At times, however, Auster does not delve deeply enough into the interior to engage his readers in his quest to understand his journey into the lonely mind.