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Winter Journal Audiobook, by Paul Auster Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Paul Auster Narrator: Paul Auster Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781427225771
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,334 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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From the bestselling novelist and author of The Invention of Solitude, a moving and highly personal meditation on the body, time, and language itself

"That is where the story begins, in your body, and everything will end in the body as well.

Facing his sixty-third winter, internationally acclaimed novelist Paul Auster sits down to write a history of his body and its sensations—both pleasurable and painful.

Thirty years after the publication of The Invention of Solitude, in which he wrote so movingly about fatherhood, Auster gives us a second unconventional memoir in which he writes about his mother's life and death. Winter Journal is a highly personal meditation on the body, time, and memory, by one of our most intellectually elegant writers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Paul Auster's narration quickly engages the listener as he shares this very personal examination of his life. He effectively modulates pitch and tone as he recounts milestones and victories with an audible smile and sadly reflects upon tragedies and losses. His pacing varies appropriates from brisk to pensive, and his pleasing baritone adds an extra layer of richness to the presentation. Listeners familiar with the author's previous body of work will recognize his trademark quirkiness and highly individual style…Hearing these reminiscences and musings in the author's own voice enhances the intimacy and authenticity of this enjoyable listening experience. AudioFile Magazine

  • “Auster’s memoir courses gracefully over ground that is frequently rough, jarring and painful . . . But there are summery memories, as well. . . . Some of the loveliest sentences in the text—and there are many—are illuminated by love. . . . A consummate professional explores the attic of his life, converting rumination to art. Kirkus (starred review)

  • “An incandescent memoir…Contemplative, pugnacious, and achingly tender…A profoundly beautiful book.”

    Washington Post

  • “[A] graceful, moving new memoir…A kaleidoscopic reflection from one of our most important writers as he enters life’s winter…Auster’s brilliance is in how he makes his deep love for his subjects palpable…With Winter Journal, Auster has given us a remarkable mosaic of his mother and his second wife, the most vital women in his life, while, at the same time, allowing readers to catch glimpses of themselves in the expansive life that’s woven together in this stirring memoir.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “Each year, when the inevitable hand-wringing begins over the American drought in winning the Nobel Prize for literature, I’m always surprised that more critics don’t push Paul Auster…The recent knock against American literature is that it’s ‘insular’ and ‘isolated,’ at least according to one grumpy Nobel Prize judge. As an antidote to those gripes, I’d like to press a few of Mr. Auster’s books into more Swedish hands…Mr. Auster’s prose is sharp and the plots are coiled. And best of all, his stories are addictively entertaining…Mr. Auster has written a spare meditation that’s thoroughly entertaining. In short, Winter Journal might contemplate the past, but it reinforces Paul Auster’s status as a writer at the peak of his talents.”

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

  • “Fascinating…Strikingly bold and original…Think of it as a literary cousin of Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film, Amarcord (‘I remember’)—only this time, we watch the protagonist grow up and become pensively aware of his mortality.”

    Richmond Times-Dispatch

  • “[A] powerful new memoir…Periodically, Auster writes these long sentences, gently pulling them like threads from the fabric of his imagination. Perhaps you learned them as run-ons, but Auster’s are wonders of clarity and cumulative clout. As Auster escorts you through his life, you realize Winter Journal works like your own mind. It tells stories; it remembers, moves on, revisits; it sorts and classifies; it judges. Feels.”

    Plain Dealer

  • “Readers of [Paul Auster’s] string of beguiling novels…will enjoy picking out the autobiographical roots of some of his fiction…Thoughtful ruminations on the nexus between the mundane and the meaningful, the physical and the emotional.”

  • “Unusual, affecting…To experience Auster’s fixation on the body—and his way of staging that fixation as something you’re complicit in—is to realize that most memoirs don’t work this way. Not even the ones that focus on illness and death. Memoirs tend to be psychological studies of how one person’s mind worked through something. Winter Journal instead foregrounds the physical; on the first page Auster states his intention to catalog ‘what it has felt like to live inside this body from the first day you can remember being alive until this one.’ With psychological interpretations stripped off, what’s left is a more visceral accounting…What becomes clearer, and in its closing pages more potent, is the way this physical self-scrutiny amplifies his emotional responses.”

    Barnes and Noble (editorial review)

  • “[In Winter Journal] one of the nation’s most revered fiction writers looks back at his life—and contemplates age and mortality—in a gripping memoir that hopscotches across the decades.”

    New Orleans Times-Picayune

  • Winter Journal takes up the conceit of a detachable self and develops it…An engaging book.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • Winter Journal is far more elegiac than angry, more wistful than soaked in regret…You will feel you have been in the company of a man whose life has had more ups than downs, more times to celebrate than memories to drown. Added pleasure will come from the clear, inventive prose that has marked Auster’s equally inventive novels through the years, from his New York trilogy to more recent books…When you reach the end of the book, you will have appreciated the journey as much as he clearly has.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “For a reader of a certain age, perhaps a male reader of a certain age, there’s a sharp shudder of recognition at the admission of minor vices, of neglect and breakdown, of the slow ravages of the body over time. As someone who shares many of these predilections, I find myself rendered nearly breathless by Auster’s willingness to tell.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “An idiosyncratic memoir that is at times cerebral, at times bawdy, and in every sense consistently rewarding…Whether you experience what Auster calls the ‘journey through winter’ literally or figuratively, this book will serve as a worthy companion when you embark on it.”

  • “A highly personal memoir and extended essay, shaped oddly and intimately by an all-embracing second-person voice.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “Auster’s memoir recalls his free-spirited mother and the history of his own body. We experience Auster’s appetite for food and drink and literature but foremost for sex, as well as the crippling panic attacks that plagued him after his mother’s death, the epiphany he experienced watching a dance performance that cured his writer’s block, and the intense shame of nearly killing his family in a car accident. Over time, as Auster’s body alternately ages and is revitalized, the composition of these elements creates an intimate symphony of selves, a song of the body for all seasons.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “The acclaimed novelist, now 65, writes affectingly about his body, family, lovers, travels, and residences as he enters what he calls the winter of his life…Auster’s memoir courses gracefully over ground that is frequently rough, jarring, and painful…A consummate professional explores the attic of his life, converting rumination to art.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Paul Auster’s novels are mesmerizing reverie, often chilly to the touch yet exploding with exponential warmth on deeper consideration. The same can be said for Winter Journal…Here, Auster surveys the physical, emotional, and spiritual landscapes of his life, then deconstructs these touchstones one unreliable memory at a time. Deeply musical, often darkly funny ruminations on baseball, becoming a middle-aged orphan after his mother’s passing, the enduring power of love, and an intimate history of his own body’s pains and pleasures weave together to confirm that while no one gets out of this world alive, each moment can be transcendent.”

    American Way

  • “[A] remarkable meditation on ‘what it has felt like to live inside this body from the first day you can remember being alive until this one.’ Notice his use of the second person? One of the first pleasures of Winter Journal is its feeling of immediacy, as if we are inside Auster’s head staring with him into memory’s mirror, listening to him talk to himself…Auster catalogs his memories with all the entertaining artistry of the best medieval poets.”


  • “This august author’s meandering meditation on time, aging, and the eventual death of his mother beguiled many readers with its mix of pungent poetics and humble reminiscence.”

    Elle (Readers’ Prize Winner)

  • “[A] quietly moving meditation on death and life…This is the exquisitely wrought catalogue of a man’s history through his body.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “An intensely sensuous account of strange and dramatic events punctuated by jazzy lists of everything from the places he’s called home to his favorite foods. Auster’s most piercing recollections are anchored to injury and illness, close calls and bad habits, age and ‘the ghoulish trigonometry of fate.’…Auster is startlingly forthright, mischievously funny, and unfailingly enrapturing as he transforms intimate memories into a zestful inquiry into the mind-body connection and the haphazard forging of a self.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “This book is called a memoir, but as might be expected of the brilliantly offbeat award-winning author of The New York Trilogy, it’s not a standard retelling of life events. Instead, as he approaches his mid-sixties, Auster considers bodily pain and pleasure, the passage of time, and the weight of memory, stirring in reflections on his mother’s life and death.”

    Library Journal

  • A 2012 Washington Post Notable Book for Nonfiction
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • One of the 2012 Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books: Memoir
  • A BookPage Top Pick for Nonfiction, September 2012

Listener Reviews

Write a Review
  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jackie | 2/9/2014

    " Autobiographical, the author gives us a reckoning of his life. Parts of it were very interesting; however, enough of it was self-indulgent and repetitive that I found myself skim-reading. Also, I took offense at his declaring himself, at age 64, in the "winter of his life!" "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jayme | 2/5/2014

    " Paul Auster rarely disappoints me, and the reviews for this memoir gave me pause. However, I'm so happy that I read it. It is a tightly-written, concise series of intertwining memories over the course of a single season in New York. Auster creates beautiful character sketches, but it is always revealing to read words about himself instead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jack | 1/31/2014

    " Subtle. Simple. Comfortable. Like an old shoe. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 1/30/2014

    " Bevat knappe passages, maar als geheel (net) niet overtuigend genoeg. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 1/24/2014

    " Reviewed for ELLE Magazine's Readers' Prize Program (October 2012). "[Auster's] reflections on the little moments that end up making a life are enjoyable in this relatable, adult coming-of-age memoir." Check out for the rest of my review. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lois | 1/12/2014

    " I loved this book because I really related to the way the writer thinks about life ad aging. I am too obsessed with these kinds of thoughts and it is reassuring to read someone else's inner dialog on the same. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 1/12/2014

    " Auster does his best to put words to the howling of the heart over its mortality. He discusses the rising anxiety when one contemplates the next minute, and the competing jealous desire for that minute to arrive. I found myself fighting panic at certain points, but relieved to read thoughts that were so familiar. Great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Silvano | 12/31/2013

    " che angoscia! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Consuelo | 12/5/2013

    " "Winter Journal" by Paul Auster is a compilation of reflections about his life. The journal entries are thoughtful and insightful. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 John | 12/5/2013

    " I was looking forward to reading this book as I am 70 years old and wanted to see what Auster had to say. I found this book to be slow and in some spots boring. I was quite disappointed overall. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 João | 11/17/2013

    " In this book, Paul Aster establishes a utter and vicious fascination with death.By writing a journal of is life, outlining the most important moments and the things which distinguish him from anyone else, he pays too much attention to death occurrences than to what is important: his writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 R. | 8/12/2013

    " Not the total Winter Livejournal professional critics were making it out to be: more a peaceful meditation on a peripatetic, poetic life and, also, a love letter of sorts to Siri. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Subbu | 8/2/2013

    " Picked up this book after listening to Paul Auster's interview on NPR. He's a wacky character with a wacky style of writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darrell | 4/8/2013

    " so moving, so readable, so ALIVE. will help you be grateful for every breath you take. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carlos | 2/14/2013

    " Excellent book that gets better with every page turn. It s. wonderful memoir that had inspired me to start my own. I want to write s memoir for my grandchildren so that they get an idea of how I experienced live for today's vantage point. Very inspiring. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sandrine | 12/31/2012

    " Beautiful writing as always with Paul sister -witty, clever, "alive". I am usually not keen on biography - despite my great admiration for Auster, got again to the same conclusion - no story telling ! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison | 12/30/2012

    " With phrases like "the trigonometry of fat" and the "architecture of barbarism", Paul Auster uses beautiful phrases to describe the absurdities and pains of life. Kind of depressing, but ultimately fulfilling. TMI in some parts, but definitely interesting, especially if you're a fan. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Clare | 10/17/2012

    " Easy to read; discursive, meditative and interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 9/25/2012

    " Auster's quasi-memoir is very selective and original. He left out a lot but you do get a feel for the passage of time and the onset of aging. Now I have to read some of his fiction. "

About the Author

Paul Auster is the bestselling author of The New York Trilogy and many other critically acclaimed novels. He was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize in 2006. His work has been translated into more than forty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.