Paul Auster’s website

I’m sure you are familiar with Paul Auster’s website.  Please visit it by clicking on the link below

www.paulauster.co.uk/

I would like to share with you the latest news:

Alejandro Chomski’s film adaptation of ‘The Country of Last Things’ is due for release in 2008. It is being filmed in Argentina and will star Eva Green. It is currently in production.

A young woman (Green) searches for her long-lost brother in a bleak, futuristic dystopia where no industry takes place and most of the population collects garbage or scavenges for objects to resell.

According to the Guardian on Friday 24th October 2008 Paul Auster has added his name to a 200,000-strong petition in support of Roberto Saviano, and compared the threats of the Neapolitan mafia against the author to the tactics used by "extremist religious groups".

If you want to read the article click on the link below

www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/oct/24/mcewan-mafia-saviano-extremists

Last but not least, I would like you to watch the two short clips referred to an interview he delivered at HardTalk (BBC).  Watch the first videoclip (Paul Auster talks to Zeinab Badawi about ‘Man In The Dark’ ) and the fourth one (Paul Auster says there is a kind of civil war in the US and religion is the fissure point ). 

http://search.bbc.co.uk/search?go=toolbar&uri=%2Fprogrammes%2Fb006mg2m&q=Paul%20Auster&tab=av&scope=all

What are the main points he makes in the two short videoclips?  What is his latest book "Man in the Dark" about? What is the problem that according to the author seems to devide his country?

In the interview you watched on "Che tempo fa", Paul Auster mentions two personal anecdotes: his not having a pen or pencil when he met his favourite baseball player and his period of great economic difficulties when he lived in France. 

What do these two anecdotes tell you of Paul Auster as a man and writer? 

In the interview he explains better the meaning of the title of his latest novel "Man in the Dark".  What does he say?  Why does he think religion may be a problem in a country?  What does he appreciate about his country?  We know that now he is proud of the fact that Americans voted for the first black President in the history of the United States and he claimed this in a very recent interview.

If you have not had the chance to watch Fazio’s interview, visit the webpage below

http://www.chetempochefa.rai.it/TE_videoteca/1,10916,1092562,00.html

Your books are on the way to our school! But before we start reading "Man in the Dark", why don’t you listen to the first pages of the novel read by Paul Auster himself!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1ls5oqMEhk

Here for my students of 5H, there are some interesting comments on translation.

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32 risposte a Paul Auster’s website

  1. anonimo scrive:

    The first video is written all around “Man in the dark” and on thoughts connected to the American elections of 2000,in which Bush won .As a Democratic Auster points out that Gore should have won. In the fourth video Auster assert a fundamental thesis: in the Unites States the war is not made with guns but with words and thoughts. The main problem is that there is impassable wall built of strong beliefs and vacuity: people are so convinced of their ideas that they are not more able to communicate. The most evident example is Religion seen as the “fissure point” by the author. That instrument is used in different ways also by governments .

    “Man in the dark” is the story of August Brill, a man who lives in a dimension where 9.11 and the invasion of Iraq did not happen. After many troubles August tries to escape from his world with imagination, that’s why he creates stories which make him capable to spend the hours of insomnia .In this situation the civil war generated after the American elections of 2000 which is imagined by Brill is the transfer of Auster worries (the author asserted that he had written the book in order to explicate to American people the divisions during the elections).As said in “Chetempochefa “ the title is referred to the Dark which dominates human life and its randomness. The two anecdotes point out that Auster is a normal person who has accidents and troubles as all people and know how to use his experiences in order to enrich his baggage.

    Perin Marco

  2. anonimo scrive:

    The first video is the description of the Auster’s last book, “Man in the dark”. An hypothetic story during these years, started from the Bush’s non-election in 2000. The story is narrated by a paralytic man, housebounded by his pain, who invents this unrealistic world to fight against his sleeplessness. In the fourth video, on the contrary, Auster claims that in America there is a war, “no with guns but with words and ideas”. People are divided by themselves opinions, which don’t led to communicate and understand other point of view. Both the video deal with a civil war: one imaginary other real, the first directly mortality, the second cause of a slowly death of the community. That is very similar on what he said to Fazio in the show “Che tempo che fa”: people are divided by themselves ideas and the can’t live together. The main problem is the religion, because in America, many people are convinced on the authenticity of Biblical theory as creationism. This people can’t help the community to grow up, so they and their ignorance became a problem for America.

    To concern the anecdotes told in the Fazio’s show, I’ve understood that Paul Auster puts his experience in his books, because he has had the lucky to life a exiting life (or the misfortune as for the anecdote about the Nazism, pointed by Fazio). I shouldn’t be surprised if the event of the pen and the baseball player was the caused of the Auster’s life as writer.

    Nicola Truant

  3. anonimo scrive:

    The first video deals with “Man in the Dark”, Auster’s latest work, which he decided to write after the disappointing 2000 elections won by President Bush. The author was shocked, in his opinion the winner should have been Al Gore, he thought it was obvious but perhaps Bush cheated and this created in Auster a sort of frustration and anger that many other americans felt provoking protests that inspired the civil war imagined by the protagonist of the book, August Brill. This is only a dream: the Iraq war and the catastrophe of the 9/11 would have never exhisted. Anyway, many critics think these arguments shouldn’t be written in literature; Auster answers saying literature can deal with everything, fortunately he is still freee to say and write whaterver he thinks and these themes shouldn’t be put aside: they are REAL problems and his book is about the REAL world.

    In the second videoclip Auster says there is a sort of civil war in the USA nowadays, not fought with guns or bullets but just with ideas and words; this is the war of the religious and non-religious americans who think their truth is absolute and are not open to dialogue with the others. This is a strong division which Auster contributes to create himself: the author in fact doesn’t believe in God and finds impossible to have a rational conversation with “people who believe the world was created in 6 days”. Auster expresses these thoughts even in the interview at “chetempochefa”, where he also tells us two anecdotes about his life: the one of the pen that thanks to a baseball player he has always in his pocket and helped him to start his career as a writer and the one of the onions cake which gives us a good vision of the poet (he’s a normal man, an usual man and lived many of the problems that people every day live: poverty, hunger, family problems. All these things forged him as a good man and a good writer; there are always hints at his life, his passions and his hobbies in his works. In this interview he also explains that the title of his book has a secondary meaning which the italian language couldn’t understand: “to be in the dark” means even “not to be able to understand what is happening or the meaning of something”. This is a thinness which tells us a lot about the importance of reading books in the language they were written…but this is another story 🙂

    –Maiutto Jessica–

  4. anonimo scrive:

    Eugenia

    In the first video Paul Auster speaks about his latest novel “Man in the Dark”. He refers to the Iraq war and to 9-11, when there was the terrorist attack to the Twin Towers. He shares with us his political choice and expectations.

    In the second video he talks about religion and his rule played in the division of America. He said that we must find a way to collaborate and to tolerate other kind of religions and believes.

  5. anonimo scrive:

    Luca Gasparin

    I’m so sorry of being late, but I had some problems with my internet connection anyway now I will post all my comments.

    In this two short video clips Paul Auster talks about his latest book “Man in the dark” and the problem that divide his country. In the first clip he introduces his book and he talk about his political choice. The book is about a man, how can sleep and he tells himself a story set in America during a war.

    The author thinks that religion is the problem that is dividing his country.

  6. anonimo scrive:

    In the first videoclip Paul Auster speck about his latest book “Man in the Dark”. It is a story about a man, Augustus Brill, his daughter and granddaughter who are all alone. It is night and Brill can’t sleep so he thinks about his life that was not so beautiful. To escape from his thought about his life he imagines another world: there is a civil war in the USA after the presidential election of the 2000. It is a story about someone who has a very bad life more than the Augustus one.

    The title of his book could be read in two ways: literally “Man in the dark” means man in the dark because it is set at night, than there is the metaphorical meaning that means the confusion of the humanity.

    In the second videoclip the writer says that the USA is divided because there is not open dialog. He thinks that religion is one of the causes of this problem: because of religion many people think that they are the keeper of the truth and with this kind of person it could not be dialog. He says that he appreciates the freedom of speech of his country: he does not like the president George W. Bush and he can say that freely without being censored.

    I understand that Auster is a man like us: he has lived some difficult moment in the past and he learns from experience, that is what all of us should do.

    Federica Battistin

  7. anonimo scrive:

    In the first videoclip Paul Auster talks about his new novel “Man in the Dark”, he says that it is a story within the story, the story of a man that tells himself stories. The main point of the book is the election of 2000, when Bush won on Al Gore. The public opinion knew that the Americans wanted Al Gore as president, but mysteriously won his opponent (quite similar to what happened in Italy). From the moment of the elections on, develops a parallel story where Al Gore won the presidential , Twin Towers stand still, Iraq war never started but where a civil war devastates the States. In the second video Paul Auster explains the problem that divides the country: Religion. In his opinion it is a war fought with words and ideas, the result is that there is no more communication, it is impossible a rational conversation between the two parts, they who believe and who doesn’t, but in the end both sides are guilty. In the third excerpt Auster tells two anecdotes, these stories shows the way his personal life influences his professional life. Not having a pen when he met his favorite baseball player made him carrying a pen wherever he goes, and this maybe made him begin to write. About “Man in the Dark” Auster says that the protagonist, which in the novel is in the dark, is emblematic of the humanity, which is in the dark as well, in a period of difficulty in which it is passing through , in the novel and in the reality. Paul Auster is not exactly in favor of President Bush but at least, he says, there is the freedom of speech, he’s not a dictator and in his country there is not a totalitarian regime!

    Riccardo Bagattin

  8. PaulAuster2008 scrive:

    Dear Federica (n.7), you should pose your question directly to Paul Auster himself when you meet him. I myself am eager to know the answer.

    For those who have not posted their answers yet, I suggest reading Chiara’s posting (n. 14) since it summarises all the points raised in main post.

    Dear Carolina (n. 15), I think that for most writers the act of writing is somehow therapeutic. I have not yet understood why you think Paul Auster is a “strange” man. It is obvious that his postmodern way of writing may puzzle the reader, especially a reader whose mother tongue is not English. Yet, I can’t understand when you state that he is a complex man because he reveals his inner doubts. Is that negative? Is that being complex?

    I would like you all to read Francesca’s final comment (n.16): “In the interview on “Che tempo fa” I realize that he is a man who fully lives his life, and he isn’t over other human beings but he is one like others”. Thanks Fancesca.

    Chiara (n. 17), thanks for your clarification about the title of Paul Auster’s latest novel: “In the interview at “chetempochefa” Auster explains the meaning of the title of the book “Man in the dark”. If I say in English “I am in the dark” I mean that I’m not able to understand what’s happening around me, things are not clear, its meaning is similar to italian “brancolare nel buio”. ”

    Damiano (n.21), just like Carolina, you consider Paul Auster a strange writer, can you clarify what you mean by “strange”?

    Dear Elena (n.24), Thanks for your post. Quite different from the others. YOu see, if it were not for this writer, you would not have raised so many objections. Like you I think that nobody can be perfect and we do not have the certainty that with a different leader our country would be a better place. Yet, not questioning things may be dangerous. On top of that, if writing were just factual, if it just dealt with facts, then it would be somehow a sort of summary, it would not involve the reader. I think a good writer has the capability of plunging the reader into the psyche of the character. You share the character’s outer and inner world. I do not understand in what way the psychological focus of the writer puts you off. Please explain, I am eager to understand.

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