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Sat. May 25th, 2024

The American novelist Paul Auster, acclaimed for his philosophical and noir-inspired narratives, has died at the age of 77.

Auster passed away on Tuesday evening at his Brooklyn home, surrounded by his family, after a long battle with lung cancer, his friend and fellow author Jacki Lyden told AFP. His literary works, known for exploring themes of loneliness, identity, and existential dilemmas, have resonated with readers worldwide.

Auster gained fame in the 1980s with “The New York Trilogy,” a series of metaphysical mysteries that established him as a significant figure in American literature. His distinctive style combined elements of noir and existentialism, leading to a dedicated following in Europe as well as the United States. His writing often featured outsiders, lonely writers, and those on the margins of society, offering a deeply human perspective on life’s complexities.

Beyond his books, Auster also ventured into film, with the screenplay for “Smoke,” a cult classic set in a Brooklyn tobacco shop, showcasing his knack for poignant storytelling and sharp dialogue. His work’s versatility made him a household name, with over 30 books translated into more than 40 languages, balancing popularity in mainstream culture with critical acclaim from literary circles.

The author’s later years were marked by personal tragedies, as his granddaughter died from ingesting heroin, and his son Daniel, the child’s father, passed away from an overdose 10 months later. Despite these heartbreaking losses, Auster continued to write and connect with his readers. His wife, fellow author Siri Hustvedt, announced in March 2023 that Auster had been diagnosed with cancer, leading to an outpouring of support from fans and the literary community.

Auster’s death is a significant loss to the literary world, leaving behind a legacy of thought-provoking and genre-defying work. His career not only captivated readers but also inspired a new generation of writers. Jacki Lyden described Auster as a “writer’s writer” who never lost touch with the intricacies of human suffering and the complexities of relationships. His insights into the human condition made him beloved by many.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Auster’s journey to literary prominence began after studying at Columbia University. He spent four years in France, where he refined his craft, before returning to the United States to make a significant impact on American literature. As the world remembers his contributions, his books continue to resonate, offering a unique and contemplative view of life’s journey.

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