Disclosing Paul Auster

foto_austerLet’s start with one of Auster’s quotations. I would love you to respond to it. So … activate your brains and unlock your imagination. Let’s see if as a starter, this can tickle your appetite for one of America’s leading contemporary writers. "Whenever I complete a book, I’m filled with a feeling of immense disgust and disappointment. It’s almost a physical collapse. I’m so disappointed by my feeble efforts that I can’t believe I’ve actually spent so much time and accomplished so little. It takes years before I’m able to accept what I’ve done – to realize that this was the best I could do. But I never like to look at the things I’ve written. The past is the past, and there’s nothing I can do about it any more. The only thing that counts is the project I’m working on now. Beckett once said in one of his stories, ‘No sooner is the ink dry that it revolts me’". (from "The Red Notebook")
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52 risposte a Disclosing Paul Auster

  1. anonimo scrive:

    This comment gives the idea of writing as a long and tiring process. To use a metaphor it may seem that the author gives birth to a novel and the “delivery” was so painful and difficult, that s/he does not want to look back, but just ahead. The reference to Beckett makes it even more clear how the Irish playwright deeply influenced Auster. In one of his many interviews Auster said that he is mainly interested in Beckett’s prose. I have never read his short stories, so it is high time I did it. Write to you all soon.

  2. anonimo scrive:

    Arnoldi Martina

    I think Auster’s feelings can be seen in two differents ways.In one hand his feelings,his considerations underline a sort of insecurity,fear and weakness of him.He maybe has many doubts when he finishs a book.For example he thinks the book is not enought complite and satisfactory for the reader.On the other hand he is aware of the fact that he has just finish a masterpiece.He knows the impact the book will done to the reader and he fells lost in an immencity of satisfaction.That brings him in a reality that he doesen’t understand.Auster decides to read his works after a long period of time when he is sure that the past is past and there is nothing to do about it so he thinks about the present but with the consciousness of the past.

  3. anonimo scrive:

    I really appreciate this quotation.I found it very interesting in order to better understand the author himself.Trough this statement we came across Paul Auster’s thought first of all as a man and then as a writer.He abandons his role as writer and reveals his fears and his moods about his own creations.So we discover that at the end of each “drawing” he feels somehow “empty”,without strenght.He feels he has spent so much time and made so many effords but has produced very little as a student who studied so much but gets a bad note.(In this case seems the author close to us!)We used to think that all artists are satisfied and proud of the work they have done because somehow they mannaged to express their own ideas and thought through their works.We also used to think that artist’s creations are like a children to a mother. But we descovered that this is not completely true.Paul Auster,for example,feels a sense of disgusting every time he finish to write a book,he his always dissatisfied about his creations.Only when he realised that the past is past he manage to reaches a kind of balance that let him accept and appreciate his work.I think that this “reject” of their own work is the Leitmotiv of all the artists. Guarino Ilaria

  4. anonimo scrive:

    Before reading this quotation, I thought that a writer considered his work as a child; I thought that he saw it with remark and pride.

    Instead, I understand that a writer is a person with his fears and worries, his lack of security and dissatisfaction. He is frightened of having spend much time in a work, that maybe people will not like. He decided to not read his past creations: maybe also for not having conditioning in his next works.

    This Auster’s vision can be associated with mine. In my little world, his idea is true. When I do a work, I’m never glad of what I’ve done. So reading this quotation gives comfort to all the people, writers or not, who lives his same fears.

    Santi Monica

  5. anonimo scrive:

    I think that this kind of feelings are so typical for an author, because what all writers do is to utilize curiosity everywhere: in feelings, in history, in landscapes, in art and so on, and when their knowledge is fed enough of that topic they need to move on to another one being always very active in searching new things to analyze.

    Francesca Cazorzi

  6. anonimo scrive:

    this quotation gives to me the idea of a two-phased writing process.

    in my opinion paul auster doesn’t decide voluntary how to write, but he has a sort of insight: in his brain arrives suddently a sort of intangible hurricane full of statements, quotations, feelings, simply words that he “must” collocate within the work, but the mind is faster than the pen and he doesn’t manage to note them all. so i think this is the reason why he’s frustrated in the very end: because he think the best ideas has already gone, or he has lost the “only” word to express it. i think also that he is so annoyed by himself that he spends lots of time re-reading, correcting because he wants to reach his perfection.

    i think in this way i’m a bit close to him because when i used to write ( simply fan-fictions, years ago when i had a creative vein) i felt somehow like him ( or i post my work soon because i was frustrated to keep on correcting it)

    giacomin elena

  7. anonimo scrive:

    I think that Mr Paul Auster is a little bit contrdictory because in the other post he says:”the past is better than the present” and here he says “the past is the past and there’s nothing i can do about it any more”. here he refers to his books but however he is contradictory… maybe he doesn’t like his own books because he doesn’t realize the fact that he is famous and has written that or maybe because he is scared about what people would think of his books… i don’t understand his problem i can only imagine it…sometimes yet more, often happens in real life, also in the school, that a person works or studies hard to get few money or a low mark..perhaps it is the life and there are few people who is satisfied with what has done!

    Santarossa Barbara

  8. anonimo scrive:

    An artist is never satisfated at all by his work, because of his will of doing the best he can, the will of discovering new situations, new ideas.

    I comprehend him, he wants to do the best that he can do, he wants to improve himself.

    Expressing feelings isn’t so easy as we can think: it takes lot of concentration and an exellent knowledge of language. Not always he achieve tranforming the feelings he feels inside his heart into words and he’s disappointed by this.

    I’m confortated by his words because i have always believed taht a writer is proud about himself, instead he’s as everybody, he has the same fears as mine.

    Giulia Raineri

  9. anonimo scrive:

    By the quotation I understand everybody can be a writer. When I write somehting for school, I never think it’s a good job. I know I spent energy and time to do that, but I think even that I could do more, that it’s not my best. Then, it happens that my work was appreciated, and only in that moment I feel happy of my work.

    The words of Paul Auster are a sign of humility. His works become great books when people read them, when they are appreciated. You can’t say something you’ve just created is great if someone else has not seen it. It can be great according to you, but if you did it to say something to other people, you have to wait for appreciation.

    Pietro Perin

  10. anonimo scrive:

    In our life no one is the best, no one is perfect, this quotation is an example of it: Paul is considered one of the most important writers nowadays and it doesn’t matter to him. He’s never satisfied with his job, and it’s natural, me too. when i write something in english, I know I commit a lot of mistakes, but being conscious is the way to improve myself. It is the same for him! when we will say:”I have made the best (something) is possibile”, it will be our literary end. Therefore it is the best behaviour: try to improve ourselves every day, without fear, with a critical and constructive eye.

    Matteo Cervesato 🙂

  11. anonimo scrive:

    Paul Auster’s words give the idea of a modern man, characterized by doubt and sense of incompleteness, in fact I think is really strange that a person continues writing, even not being pleased with his works. So I ask myself (and I’d like to ask to him) why he has chosen this work.

    Besides, I admire the author’s capability of thinking only about present and future, because past things can’t be changed… It’s true!

    I also think that reading Paul Auster’s books can be really interesting for manifold reasons. As a matter of fact, themes and plots are various and also contemporary, but perhaps the most fascinating thing is that we could “discover” the inner turmoil of a man through his works and characters.

    Giulia Marcassa

  12. anonimo scrive:

    “hey Paul,take it easy!!if that is what you think about your books and your efforts,and you are one of the most leading contemporary writers,maybe you should review your point of you!” these is what I’d say if i could talk directly to Auster! i would really like to be able to write in such a catchy and interesting way,and to have such a great and complete culture. When i read what i’ve just finished writing i think that it won’t be a masterpiece,but i know that i’ve tried to do my best and i don’t feel so disgusted about my work. Moreover, i don’t like writing,so I’d better say I usually feel relieved when i’ve completed a written test or something like that.

    Cervo,i like your comment,it’s very constructive,but i disagree with you!

    Simone De Luca =D

  13. anonimo scrive:

    I love seeing that some of you are reading the others’ comments. I think this is a sign of respect and curiosity. One suggestion: I know this blog is not meant to empower our language or to check grammar. Yet, I would really appreciate if you could reread your comments before posting them: too many spelling mistakes and grammar mistakes, then some words are really invented, like “confortated”!!! No pointing of fingers, we all make mistakes, me too, but let’s try to make an effort. Paul Auster may be reading (“watching”!!!) us, and poor man, he is not a teacher, he is not used to foreign students, so we must try to make our comments clear enough for him to understand.


    your teacher

  14. anonimo scrive:

    Before reading this quotation, I’ve seen Paul Auster’s interview at “Che tempo che fa” with Fabio Fazio. I think that Auster is a great writer, not only for how and what he write but also for his way of facing things. I mean: if I write a book (I’ve already did something like that) that I think is incomplete and if I also think that my creation in disgusting, I will never publish it! But Auster was able to realize that the book was “incomplete” for him but, objectively, was “complete” with the qualities to become a best seller.

    It’s also strange for me to read this quotation because it forces me to see him as a man, sitting in the dark with his pieces of paper, with his hands on his head, desperate because is not convinced of what he had done. On the contrary, I want to think to him as a busy man that walks around his desk, trying to catch a starting point, a moment, that can inspire his next masterpiece.

    Returning to the master question, I think that no one could be completely sure about his/her “creations”. The doubt is a big part of our life: what could be happen if Paul Auster didn’t published his last book “Man in the dark” and all of his works? No one knows.

    PS. Although I’ve never heard the name Paul Auster before the teacher tell us, I decided to watch his interview. It was one of the most brilliant interview I’ve ever watched! He was such a kind person! Very funny and very interesting!

    Elena Poles

  15. anonimo scrive:


    Thank you for your spontaneity. I loved reading your post. You see, you made me feel more confident with my teaching input. I think a teacher should always promote independent learning, that is why I suggested you should watch the interview. I am gaining lots of satisfaction from all the posts, you people, are writing. At first I was skeptical asking you (5B) to join the Dedica Festival. I have known you for one year only (unlike 5H), so I was hesitant. But reading your comments made me feel positive about my decision. I am sure most of you (5H and 5B) will love this experience.

    Once again, mind your grammar when you write, the “S” third person singular, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    Your teacher is admiring you from Brighton. You’re giving me lots of satisfaction. Thanks. You see, it takes so little to make a teacher happy. Give her a little bit of “spicy” and “salty” comments, and she will rejoyce over them.


  16. anonimo scrive:

    I’ve never stand the famous person that eulogize their ideas, works and actions. I appreciate Paul Auster’s humility, that is a big value that nowadays it’s difficult find. well…i can tell that very often i feel like Paul Auster…I’m never glad of what I do. i feel in every moment in last place…unable to do everything…maybe because i’, afraid of negative opinions, but at the same time i need to receive opinion about myself and my actions. i knoe…i’m really strange. But i feel better because this fear isn’t also mine…reading the other comments I found that i’m not he only one with this fear!!

  17. anonimo scrive:

    The essence of the problem is that when you are an artist, looking at your work, you have the constant idea in your mind of what you intended, and you see the flaws in the real artwork compared to the mind’s eye version. An outside observer looking at the artwork lacks the “perfect” image in his head to compare it to, therefore the piece in question seems ‘”wonderful”. On the other side the artist feels dissatisfaction for his work, like a sense of imperfection, like a sort of inability to create a masterpiece. This is because everyone tends to have his own idea of what equals perfection: an artist’s mind could have an abstract idea of perfection, or perhaps he feels that if he created it, then it simply cannot be great (although there is the narcissistic artist who believes his shit equals gold).

    An artist will not, in general, commit suicide because of the hate or dislike for his work (I think that this could happen only if the doubts that every artist have about the success of their artwork degenerated into a mania), and can come to the understanding of the difference between their perception and the work. Maybe this difference could be connected with the fact that the real artwork (not the abstract idea it) is distorted by constantly being bombarded with what is considered beautiful by the media. In this sense, people need to realize that it is just as important to be yourself.

    Alessandro Piccin

  18. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Yes Laura, it is nice to realize we’re not alone in our fears. Speaking about us with people that we can trust makes us feel better and definitely less lonely, more understood. As to Alessandro, I agree with you when you mention how affected we are by what the media present as “beautiful” forms of art. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so let’s trust our eyes.

    I’m off to my classes. See you.

  19. anonimo scrive:

    Art is the expression of our deepest feelings and foughts.Nobody can describe completely the immensity of his interior world.That’s why every type of art is always evolving.The wall which precludes the author to express his ideas in their totality can only be destroyed by the reader who,with his personal experiences, can fill the gaps.It’s typical for a writer to feel this powerlessness in front of one of his creations but he has the obligation to use words in the best way in order to try disclosing his thoughts to the reader.

  20. anonimo scrive:

    I think this feeling is very normal, this is the same feeling i feel when I finish something, you think that you didn’t do the best, that you could do better, when you finish your work you start thinking of new way to do it or to improve it. This is frustrating because you are never satisfied of your job. In my opinion this feeling is caused by the fear of the comparison with other people. In the case of Paul Auster I think his biggest fear is being judjed by his readers. Then, when the audience’s response is positive, he starts seeing the best aspects of his works. This is what I also feel now, posting this comment, I constantly think that what I write is not what I want to express. Of course I’m not Paul Auster and the results are not that good. =)

    Riccardo Bagattin

  21. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Riccardo, who knows, you could become a writer yourself in the future. In his interviews Paul Auster underlined on different occasions that he cannot imagine himself doing a different job. He needs writing, he cannot possibly live without it, it would be unconceivable for him. So, if you have the same feelings, then pick up your pen and start writing.

    Marco, I loved your post. I am so happy to see that you are giving the best of you this year. Please, do not give up, show all of us what you are capable of and how gifted you are. I’m sure Paul Auster’s readings will make us give the best of us.

    Love to you all.

  22. anonimo scrive:

    There is not anything perfect in this world, but unfortunately there are a lot of people that don’t admit it if you are talking about their works.A writer that want to declare his sence of incompleteness has to be a person with a considerable capacity of self-criticism, that is really important in order to open mind to different points of view.

    Damiano Verardo

  23. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Self-criticism is fine as long as it does not jeopardise your self-confidence. It is constructive when it leads to awareness and awareness leads to the need to investigate, to find new strategies, to find new ways of expressing yourself.

  24. anonimo scrive:

    Before reading this quotations I thought that a writer did not have any kind of problem or fear for write a book. I thought that this was just an attribute that a little number of people could have and that this people have not problem to write something and everythings they create was perfect. Of sure they have to correct their doing sometimes but in the end they were ever gratified of their doing.

    Instead, I understand that also a famous writer like Paul Auster could be have doubts on his elaborate. This is an important thing because if he has this problem is normal that I have these problems too and I am never sure of my works.


  25. anonimo scrive:

    Perhaps,Paul Auster and I have something in common. So many times, mostly when I work for school, when I finish a class test I always ask myself if my work is enough right, reflects what i wanted to explain and if it is the best I can do! Some times I feel just like Paul Auster, disappointed by my work, even if i’ve studied hard and forced myself to do my best. Im not a famous writer and maybe my tears and insecurities are legitimates; but how it is possible that a writer like Paul Auster, with a long carrier behind is back, known all over the world, is still thinking that what he writes is disgusting?! I can’t belive it at all, but I have some opinions about. Maybe he’s worried about his readers feedbacks and critics,or he doesn’t want to disappoint them; perhaps he is not so much selfconfident and even his long experience doesn’t help his temper. But in my opinion this is the only way he can follow to continue to write bestsellers. I’m going to explain myself: I think that paul Auster knows pefectly his own abilities but considering what he has just written disappointing and disgusting he’s forced to continue and to improve his work. It is a sourt of psycological trick that makes paul Auster not to be content with his work, permitting him to go on writing things better and better. I would like to “read the author mind” to understand the real reason that makes him always disappointed with his work, because it makes me feel curious and I’m still asking myself possible reason for such a strange way of thinking in a such famous writer.

    Going on thinking……..Martina Nadal

  26. anonimo scrive:

    As I read Paul Auster’s quotation, the first thing I realized was that I feel his same feelings when I finish a writing piece. This happens to me particularly during class tests. When, in the end, I reread my work I feel completely disappointed and I am tempted to tear up the paper in 1000 pieces and throw them away. But I think that this reaction is quite normal, because a lot of people have inside the instinct to reach perfection and to give the best of himself/herself. Paul Auster also says that he accepts what he has done after years. Perhaps this happens because his attitude to that particular work has changed in the meantime, or because he knows that the past is the past and he can do anything about it any more. However, perfection is a very very abstract concept, and what is perfect in my opinion, couldn’t be in yours. As Riccardo says, Paul Auster is perhaps afraid of the audience’s reaction to his work. I imagine him thinking: ‘Oh, they liked my book…they are right, in the end I’m not such a bad writer!’…It seems to me that he needs the approval of his readers. That’s the motive power that makes him go on with his writing.

    Jana Stefani

  27. anonimo scrive:

    This words rapresent the condition of frustation of Paul Auster that he isn’t able to satisfy the will of the reader.This brings Paul Auster to a sense of loss and of literary incapacity.

    Finally the experience of so many years of writing will bring him to understand his capacity and to accept his fantastic literary dowries.Paul Auster looks to the present and to the future, but he escapes from fears of the past.


  28. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Giulia,

    I don’t quite understand what you mean by “Auster escapes from the fears of the past”. Could you explain that to me?Thanks.

    By the way, I read some really nice comments.


  29. anonimo scrive:

    One day I read a mathematician’s quation: Math solve problems, licterature make them biggest.

    I think Paul Auster when writes a book is taken by the will to solve the problem he is writing for. But when he finish realizes that he have only denounced the problem and hasn’t given a defintive and incontrovertible solution that he maybe would give and this makes he frustrated and unsatisfated.


  30. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    I do not quite agree with Lorenzo’s maths quote. Maths can’t solve all problems, if it could then we would live in a perfect world. Mathematics is investigation, trial, solution and so is literature. One does not negate the other. Both are fed by a need to understand the world, to make sense of it, to create order and to do that they must know “disorder”!

    What do you think folks?

  31. anonimo scrive:

    Ok ok maths can’t solve all problems and there is the chaos theory. But maths try to solve problems and if they cannot do this they’ve tried!

    Authors don’t try! they write only the hypothesis and the thesis! The demostration is something absurd for them!

  32. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Well, Once again, I don’t quite agree with you. Some writers have disclosed some truths to their readers that somehow changed their existence. Some novels, some poems, any form of art, may “save” a person’s life. Yet, I do understand what you mean.

    What I like about literature is the subjective part. There are different ways of looking at the same aspect of life, and all the different ways can be plausible.

    Once again, I do not think we can possibly apply the parameters of a subject (maths) upon another (literature).

    Cheers 🙂

  33. anonimo scrive:

    I think Auster is the typical character/writer who is obsessed by the desire of stepping up. From one side he wants to improve himself in a good way, writing every day, book after book, about issues that deeply impress him and which he believes could interest people of his cultural level. But from the other side, when he returns to his written books, he doesn’t like his imaginary creations , he falls in the dark swirl of his mind and he feels frightened of not keeping up with his expectations, also for the future. At this point a question rises up spontaneously in me : if Auster doesn’t really believe in his books when he finished them, because he doesn’t like the way he wrote them, how can he speak and persuade people to buy them?

    Carolina Braghin

  34. anonimo scrive:

    I think that, sometimes, all of us are tempted to write: especially when we feel driven by very strong emotions, a piece of paper can give vent to a great joy or otherwise a disappointment, or a regret.

    Whatever the result is, the objective of stopping time at that precise moment has been obtained, knowing that the passing of the days will change our way of being and feeling things. In fact, after reading what we wrote at that time, we hardly recognize us or we are surprised that we have felt certain emotions. I think it is the same mechanism mentioned by the author, when he reads -or even when he doesn’t want to reread- his books.

    But discovering that many people can share some experiences or moods mentioned in his books, gives to his work a positive value, that someway satisfies him.

    The success of public gives him the certainty of having done a good job, even if he has the strong belief that his next work will be better than the one he has just finished.

    This uncertainty that the author has, expresses -according to my personal opinion- great humanity that makes him even more appreciated by the reader.

    Raggiotto Francesco

  35. anonimo scrive:

    perhaps I’m completely wrong, but this words don’t seem to be too sincere. It could be that he feels a little bit disappointed, every writer would like to create “the Book”, but why does he publish it, if he’s not satisfied about it? Is it compulsory to write a book every two years? I mean, an artist should not be given a deadline, art flows when it wants; it is even worse, if you are nervous because inspiration doesn’t come.

    My knowledge of Auster’s books is very narrow, but from the review I’ve read so far, it seems that he tries to improve the subjects of his previous novels («After, say, 10 books, maybe novelists should be retested, like accident-prone senior citizens renewing their driver’s licenses. Veterans of literary wars would anonymously submit a new manuscript to agents. Of “Man in the Dark,” I think they’d say, “third-rate imitation of Paul Auster »_new york times), and it contradicts Auster’s quotation, where he says that past is past and he doesn’t like looking back. He should not set his heart on an old idea, which he didn’t managed to express properly, but explore new thoughts, surprising the reader and, why not, this harsh reviewer.

    On the other hand he could just be humble (I doubt) or a man who asks too much from himself: “with any luck, time will tell us all.”

    Federica Zille

  36. anonimo scrive:

    It’s nice to see i’m not the only one who thinks that what have done is wrong and superficial. Always at the end of an oral or a class text i think that i could have done perhaps better than what i have just done. But when a writer writes a book or a journalist a review, in my opinion, they should have a sort of ispiration or should be ”made” for doing that. I would never embark in writing a book because i perfectly know that i would not succeded into. So this thoughts of P.Auster make me think in two different ways. The first one he may act like this because he wants to achieve more audience and readers by complaying on what he had just done. But on the other hand i can really understand his feeling of dissatisfaction because everybody, i believe, are carried away by disappointment at the end of a written, oral or manual production because we are worried by the judgement of people around us. Because of Media, literature has lost lots of its charm and special, they have caused a society’s change, it has become a ”mass society”, where everything loses its taste, writers and film producers make their job with the only aim of satisfaying the elementary pleasure of this society. That is why writers are always afraid if what they have just written would be appreciated by readers and it is not only a ”hole in the water” because it has not approached near people’s pleasure.

  37. anonimo scrive:

    I’m coming up with the idea that Auster is a really strange person…

    I’ve found this quotation not very unusual:maybe because I am too always dissatisfied with what I do…

    but differently from him, I continue to think “I could do it better”….

    However I think that feeling dissatisfied with what we have done, spure us on to accept

    more difficult challenges and do that better than ever…So…now I expect that Auster’s next works will be progressively better if he thought at them as a challenge and if he tries to get finally satisfected with them.

    erica turbian

  38. anonimo scrive:

    Well, it is incredible that Paul Auster has my same feelings when he finish a work. I mean, I am not a writer and I know that I don’t write well, so when I finish a work (for example an Italian essay) I am not really satisfied, I often think that I haven’t done a good job.

    Before reading this quotation I thought that writers are always satisfied of their job; I couldn’t imagine that one of the most important writer feel “disgust and disappointment” whenever he complete a book. Probably he wants to reach the perfection, the best way of writing, so he is never satisfied. Maybe he has the idea of his work in his mind but he can’t always find the best way of writing what he is thinking, so he couldn’t be satisfied. But there is something that I don’t understand: if he doesn’t like what he has written, how can publish it and convince people to buy? I mean, our life it is full of doubts; we have few certainty, but if I wrote a book and I didn’t like my work, if I felt “disgust and disappointment” I wouldn’t publish it.

    So, actually I have some doubts that he really feel disgust and disappointment. But, as I am a human being, I know that my reasoning could be wrong, so I am open to read other interpretations.

    Anyway, if it is true it is interesting that one of the most important writer has my (and maybe our) same fears, a common mortal.

    Federica Battistin

  39. anonimo scrive:

    What a person has done can’t be useless, but it has permitted the creation of present.

    A work, that has taken time to the artist, apart from it is a good work or not, it has improve artist’s capacity. The next work will be better and closer to what the artist real thinks. The life of a man and his message can be summarized in a “final” work. The other works are milestones of the way of creation or repetition of this final works. The artist mustn’t consider his works fluff or unworthy, on the contrary, he must feel a sentiment of love as a father feel love for his son.

    Nicola Truant

  40. anonimo scrive:

    On one hand i can believe in what Paul Auster said because even i always feel the same feeling of dassatisfaction.I always think that what i have done,is wrong…I’m never sure of what i’m saying,not because i haven’t that idea,but only because i always have an insicurity!!!!but on the other hand Paul Auster is completly conscious of his abilities and of his excellence…i think that he said that phrase only to demonstrate that he isn’t a person that wants to be superior.

    Finally i think that Paul Auster wants to give us a massage:even if we aren’t satisfied with our work,it doesn’t mean that the others doesn’t like it…


  41. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    My dearest CAROLINA,

    I read you were somehow puzzled and you posed a question I feel urged to answer. First of all I need to acknowledge one important element: you are all reading things in English and even if you are all good at it, sometimes you lack the confidence and knowledge to intrepret certain things (expressed in English) in the proper way. There are some misunderstandings, misreadings, and this is proof of you learning the language. Now I’ll try to answer your question. When a writer writes he investigates the world, he tries to clarify things, he tries to put the different pieces of a puzzle together (to use a metaphor for the complexity of life). A book needs to come to an end, it is not an everending process, as some writers may wish. As soon as it has been published for Auster it seems to be obsolete, it seems not to have clarified all the aspects that he wanted to. This because his book stopped at a certain stage of the process of investigation, whereas his mind keeps on investigating even after having published the book. The more you will read Paul Auster the more you will realize that at the end of his novels you do not put down them and stop thinking about them. After months you will find yourself adding new possible interpretations to them. They pay you company in a certain way. You feel less lonely because we all go through some of the mental stages his main characters experience.

    CAROLINA, I would like to invite you to read FRANCESCO RAGGIOTTO’S post. He wrote a very interesting comment on Paul Auster’s statement.

    FEDERICA, I think that a “great” artist is never happy with what s/he has achieved because s/he constantly needs to challenge his/her art. Then, this is my personal opinion, I soubt an artist may fall within the “realm” of humility. An artist tends to be self-referential, s/he wants his/her art to be visible and to be appreciated. Art is the manifestation of his/her need to be acknowledged, to be noticed, it is the reflection and manifestation of his/her ego.

    FEDERICA, I do not know how you write in Italian, but I can guarantee that you write pretty well in English!

    NICOLA you seem to have the gene of an artist flowing in your veins! 🙂


  42. anonimo scrive:

    Like Paul Auster, lots of contemporaney writers tend to have a love-hate relationship with the book they have just given birth to. I always ask myself if they are telling the truth, if they are just pretending, or if they are just telling a big lie, knowing that they feel just the opposite. But what makes me wonder even more is WHY they are saying that, what’s their aim by saying that they feel disgusted whenever they complite a book. There has to be a purpose.

    I found this quotation of Paul Auster that has somehow casted new light on my reflections: “Every novel is an equal collaboration between the writer and the reader and it is the only place in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy. I have spent my life in conversation with people I have never seen, with poeple I will never know and I hope to continue till the day I stop breathing. It’s the only job I’ve ever wanted.”

    So maybe he is disgusted because he thinks he hasn’t totally suceeded in creating that kind of “dimension” where he and the reader can “meet in absolute intimacy”, he thinks he has not fully given the reader all the means, informations,details,etc. that he wanted to, as his mind keeps on thinking and investigating. Maybe he is disappointed by that and this is why,I think, he frankly admits he is disgusted by the book he has just completed.

    (I tried to give a diffrent interpretation)

    Chiara Pinardi

  43. anonimo scrive:

    this quotation is quite strange to me,I always thought an artist was proud of all his creations and considered them as children that have to be regarded with extreme pride since it came to light.Anyway,there are many reasons that can explain this feeling:first of all he may be worried by all the possible negative judgments of the readers,or maybe he fears that the reader can’t utterly understand what he wants to express,maybe he thinks he cuold be more clear precise or more explicit(since his works are a bit obscure and can be interpret in different ways) maybe he is afraid of being misunderstood or,as Chiara wrote,he is filled with this feeling of disgust because he thinks he hasn’t succeded in creating that kind of intimate relationship between him and the reader tha becomes the confident of his inner feelings.I think this last possibility is the most plausible,I think the most important thing for a writer is creating a connection between his mind and the readers and when he doesn’t achieve this task,he becomes frustrated.

    Valentina Montrasio

  44. anonimo scrive:

    Paul Auster hadn’t got a good childhood caused by his father’s death,so he told us that the past is the past and that he never like to look at the things he has written.Things that he writes in his books maybe let him thinking to his painful youth!

    I think that he would escape from the fears of the past because he isn’t able to look to his previous masterpiece.

    Giulia Marzio

  45. anonimo scrive:

    Through this quotation we come to know about Paul Auster’s feelings after he has settled a book. He says that he is filled with a feeling of immense disgust and disappointment and personally i think that it is normal to think to our composition as something plain and unattractive.

    I think that nobody is so conceited to consider him/herself the best in all what he/she does.

    Everybody look at their works with a critical eye and only when you are praise for your book you become aware of the importance of your masterpiece.

    I think that lots of writers, like Paul Auster, when they complete a work they have to face this kind of feelings and all the possible doubts on what they have done.

    Marson Chiara

  46. anonimo scrive:

    On one hand I agree with Paul Auster when says “the past is past, and there’s nothing I can do about it any more” but on the other hand I find him extremely exaggerated, I think it’s impossible to feel disgusted or almost as having a physical collapse after completing a book. A book is somehow a piece of you, you often jot words down just to feel better, you need it. Yes, it could happen that after a certain period of time you might find those words funny, but you’ll NEVER feel disgusted.. Perhaps I’m wrong, but this is how I feel when it happens to me and I find it even more impossible if I think about Auster: writing is a job for him and without readers, a writer can’t have a job. If you have readers, perhaps what you write is not that bad.. and after a long period you become aware of it.

  47. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Chiara, I appreciated the fact that you tried to give a different reading to the post. I like your quotation and I think it fits the post perfectly, for this reason I want to past it in my reply so that everybody can read it. Every novel is an equal collaboration between the writer and the reader and it is the only place in the world where two strangers can meet on terms of absolute intimacy. I have spent my life in conversation with people I have never seen, with poeple I will never know and I hope to continue till the day I stop breathing. It’s the only job I’ve ever wanted.”

    Giulia M., I do not think that the fact that Paul Auster lost his father (he was an adult when that happened) can cast light on the quotation I posted. He refers to the process and outcome of the act of writing.

  48. MicheleDB scrive:

    Obviously whenever you will finish a book, you will think that you did enough but not your best. However, to achieve such a big importance in the modern literary world, means that what you have done has astonished a lot of people. According to what Paul Auster wrote, I think that an author have not to look back to his past works. “The past is the past”, everyone seeked to improve himself and is life, too. And it is better to write what you think than not. if you notice you did an error, you at least will know that is better to have remorses than regrets.

  49. anonimo scrive:

    This post reveals that Paul Auster writes his books with all possible efforts. He would always be able to give something more; he would be able to express better what he think and what he feels. For this reason when he finishes a book he has a sense of incompleteness and disgust: even if it is plagued by the feeling of not having done everything possible, he understands that he has given the best of himself.


  50. anonimo scrive:

    Before reading this quotation I have never thought that a writer could be dissatisfied with his work. But this kind of feeling that Paul Auster denounces is something absolutely natural and spontaneous in people: for example I often feel dissatisfied with what I has just written, first of all because writing takes a long time and not always the results are good, then because is it difficult to explain our emotions, so that sometimes I have the impression that words are not enough to describe accurately our thoughts. What is important, however, is not to despise our work, and recognize that we have tried to do everything possible (even if this process can take us years, as pointed out by Paul Auster).

    Federica Cozzarin

  51. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Hi folks! With all your feedback, now you have plenty of possible input for interesting questions to pose when you see/meet Paul Auster this coming spring. One possible question could be: “Is there any specific work of yours you like looking back to?” “What project are you working on at the moment?” “In what way do you reckon Beckett has somehow inspired your writing?”

    As I pointed out on various occasions, do keep a page where you record possible questions you’d like to ask.

  52. marylin24 scrive:

    good evening …… goodbye !