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Acclaimed Author Paul Auster Passes Away at 77

Paul Auster, the renowned American novelist and filmmaker, has passed away at the age of 77. The prolific writer, best known for his acclaimed work “The New York Trilogy,” died on Tuesday at his home in Brooklyn, New York, due to complications from lung cancer.

Early Life and Influences

Born in 1947 in Newark, New Jersey, to Jewish parents, Auster’s worldview was shaped by a traumatic childhood incident when a boy standing next to him was struck and killed by lightning. “Being right next to a boy who was essentially murdered by the gods changed my whole view of the world,” he once shared in an interview.

Literary Journey and Acclaim

After graduating from Columbia University and working various odd jobs, including a brief foray into writing pornography, Auster lived in Paris for several years before returning to the U.S. and making a living as a translator of French literature. Over the course of his illustrious career, he authored more than 30 books and was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize.

His debut memoir, “The Invention of Solitude,” which dealt with the death of his father, garnered favorable reviews upon its publication in 1982. However, it was the “New York Trilogy” – comprising “City of Glass,” “Ghosts,” and “The Locked Room” – that brought him widespread renown. This postmodern take on detective fiction explored existential themes of identity and knowledge.

Exploration of Existential Themes

These existential themes were further explored in Auster’s subsequent fiction, such as “Moon Palace,” “Leviathan,” and the poignant “Timbuktu,” which was narrated through the eyes of a dog grappling with his master’s impending death. His 800-page novel “4 3 2 1,” published in 2017, was a finalist for the Booker Prize.

Filmmaking and Personal Tragedies

In addition to his literary accomplishments, Auster ventured into filmmaking, directing the independent film “Smoke” in 1995, starring Harvey Keitel and William Hurt. He also co-directed the largely improvised sequel, “Blue in the Face.” Auster’s personal life was marred by tragedy in 2022 when his son Daniel died from a drug overdose after being charged with the death of his 10-month-old daughter.

Legacy and Survival

Despite his battle with cancer, revealed by his wife Siri Hustvedt in 2023, Auster published his final novel, “Baumgartner,” last year. He is survived by Hustvedt and their daughter Sophie, leaving behind a remarkable literary legacy that will continue to inspire and captivate readers for generations to come.

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