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Winter Journal | [Paul Auster]

Winter Journal

Facing his 63rd 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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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling novelist and author of The Invention of Solitude comes 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 63rd 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.

©2012 Paul Auster (P)2012 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

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  •  
    Diane LANGLEY, WA, United States 09-02-12
    Diane LANGLEY, WA, United States 09-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Memorable"
    Where does Winter Journal rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Right up there with the best.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter Journal?

    Not a moment but a sequence. Thought the way he told his stories via the houses he'd lived in was clever.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When he falls in love with his wife, of course!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A journey through life into old age.


    Any additional comments?

    I had never heard of Paul Auster until his interview on NPR's Fresh Air. I listened to this book for a solid 6+hours because it was so good; something I've never done before— admittedly I came of age through the same time period, and am entering my own "Winter" so that held my interest. His narration is stellar; love when an author can narrate. Will definitely get another of his books; hope it's as good as this one!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NB Kansas City, MO 12-21-12
    NB Kansas City, MO 12-21-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Paul Auster at his best."
    What made the experience of listening to Winter Journal the most enjoyable?

    A sensuous and entertaining memoir. I love Paul Auster's fiction, and here he brings his great storytelling talent and wit to his own life. He describes moments that we can all identify with, and makes them so immediate and real that you feel as though you have experienced them yourself. Human. Real. He makes the mundane fascinating.


    What other book might you compare Winter Journal to and why?

    Though this is a work of nonfiction, it has a similar feel to Auster's books, Oracle Night, and Book of Illusions.


    Which character – as performed by Paul Auster – was your favorite?

    Paul has read most of his recent books. I love his voice and the cadence of his speech. Lovely to listen to.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When he was so thrilled that his mother had hit a home run when playing with his boy scout troop.


    Any additional comments?

    A very pleasurable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Victoria, BC, Canada 11-26-12
    Carol Victoria, BC, Canada 11-26-12 Member Since 2005
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    "A Moving Memoir"
    What made the experience of listening to Winter Journal the most enjoyable?

    The simple honesty of the writing, even when the subject is difficult, made Winter Journal most enjoyable.


    What other book might you compare Winter Journal to and why?

    Perhaps some of the memoir writings of Joyce Carol Oates might compare. But Paul Auster's point of view is very decidely masculine.


    What about Paul Auster’s performance did you like?

    I like an author to read his own writing if the author has any talent for reading at all. He knows the material best, and there is little or no hesitancy about the performance.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I felt extremely sympathetic toward Auster's mother, and how courageous she was in her declining years. I think Paul Auster himself will not fair as well if he should live as long as his mother. I hope he has learned from her how to take his physical losses with some insight, and courage. I think men don't know how to disentagle who they are from their physical bodies, and so aging is harder for them. Women seem to be able to rely on an inner core of faith and optimism. Much of Auster's memory is sad, as he observes the decline of his physical strength, sexual prowess and power. I wanted him to reach more into the spiritual realm for some inspiration.


    Any additional comments?

    A very brave and passionate accounting of what was important in his life, nonetheless. He isn't afraid to say what he means, and to enter subjects that do not reveal him in a particularly positive light.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    V. T. Carson Connecticut 09-17-12
    V. T. Carson Connecticut 09-17-12 Member Since 2004

    Audiobook Raven

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    "A guarded memoir"

    I read Winter Journal by Paul Auster because I have read two of the author’s recent novels, Sunset Park and Invisible. In fact, I listened to the audiobook version of Winter Journal because it is read by the author. I liked the writing style of Auster’s memoir but found the actual content somewhat guarded, lacking intimacy, with biographical information substituted for comments about his writing. Like many other authors, Auster seems to conceal his literary opinion so that his readers will make sense of his novels based solely on the published text. Auster’s thoughts about life, aging, and death are similar to my own, which is not too surprising since he and I are close to the same age. What Auster says has been said just as well or better by others, who are willing to explore deeper questions about the meaning of life, religious faith or lack thereof, and strategies to remain relevant and “loveable” in our old age.

    I was puzzled by the rambling style of the memoir. Part is chronological, giving us comments about every home Auster ever lived in, his own childhood memories, his experiences in France and his general dislike of the Parisians, his first marriage (but not the reasons for its breakup), and his second marriage, which has continued for thirty years. Parts of the memoir jump back to the author’s relationship with his mother and his lack of a relationship with his father. Auster’s recurring “panic attacks”, dating from his early twenties to the present, are quite revealing, and seem related to his insecurity during his childhood, after the divorce of his own parents. His own divorce, on the other hand, coincides chronologically and psychologically with the rebirth of his own creativity. He learns to hear the music within himself and to put words to that music. His description of an experimental ballet, without music, that he saw performed at this time identifies the incident as the spark of his rebirth. Shortly thereafter, with the help of his estranged wife, he overcame the emotional turmoil attending the death of his father. Not too much later, he met the woman who became his second wife, and entered a relationship he finds as loving today as thirty years ago.

    Although authors who publish memoirs late in life sometimes announce or anticipate their own retirement, Paul Auster does not seem to have retirement in mind in Winter Journal. I hope to see new works of fiction from the author for years to come, and hope to be here to read them

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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