Monday, November 2, 2015

Winter Journal - Paul Auser

Earlier this month when I was browsing through my reading shelf,this book with the title 'Winter Journal' caught my eye..As the Indian winter is almost here I thought this would be befitting title to read..This is my first book from this author,Paul Auster,about whom I learnt sometime back when I was looking for stuff on 'Existentialism',my new passion these days..Though Camus and Hesse introduced me to this very topic,Paul Auster's approach was a bit more simple and transparent when compared to their theories..The absurdity in Hesse and Camus seems somewhat intense,inapplicable to practicality where as Paul Auster's journal come with more feasible explanations.

Image Courtesy Google
It's not a memoir but a journal which unfolds the author's experiences and minute details of his day to day life..The whole narration is in second person which is like he is speaking to his own self..The author narrates his experiences starting from the crucial transitional period of self awareness when he was thirty-one years old,his first marriage had just cracked apart and he had an eighteen-month-old son and no regular job,no money to speak of,inadequate living as a freelance translator, author of three small books of poetry with at most one hundred readers in the world..
Your work had staggered to a halt, you were stuck and confused, you had not written a poem in more than a year, and you were slowly coming to the realization that you would never be able to write again. Such was the spot you were in that winter evening more than thirty-two years ago when you walked into the high school gym to watch the open rehearsal of Nina W.’s work in progress.
The best part about the book is the way he described about his mother who was a very strong woman but completely shattered when she lost her love..
When she was young, from her late twenties to her early forties, a mysterious combination of carriage, poise, and elegance, the clothes that pointed to but did not overstate the sensuality of the person inside them, the perfume, the makeup, the jewelry, the stylishly coiffed hair, and, above all, the playful look in the eyes, at once forthright and demure, a look of confidence, and even if she wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the world, she acted as if she were, and a woman who can pull that off will inevitably make heads turn.
Needless to say this is a perfect winter read..Through out reading you would have a wonderful company of a man who would surprise you with his profound sense of outlook towards life.

Here are more few favourite thoughts from this book,
Afraid to die, which in the end is probably no different from saying: afraid to live.
You would like to know who you are. With little or nothing to guide you, you take it for granted that you are the product of vast, prehistoric migrations, of conquests, rapes, and abductions, that the long and circuitous intersections of your ancestral horde have extended over many territories and kingdoms, for you are not the only person who has traveled, after all, tribes of human beings have been moving around the earth for tens of thousands of years, and who knows who begat whom begat whom begat whom begat whom begat whom to end up with your two parents begetting you in 1947? You can go back only as far as your grandparents, with some scant information about your great-grandparents on your mother’s side, which means that the generations that came before them are no more than blank space, a void of conjecture and blind guesswork.
Your eyes water up when you watch certain movies, you have dropped tears onto the pages of numerous books, you have cried at moments of immense personal sorrow, but death freezes you and shuts you down, robbing you of all emotion, all affect, all connection to your own heart. From the very beginning, you have gone dead in the face of death, and that is what happened to you with your mother’s death as well. At least for the first little while, the first two days and nights, but then lightning struck again, and you were scorched.
Whenever you find yourself slipping into a nostalgic frame of mind, mourning the loss of the things that seemed to make life better then than it is now, you tell yourself to stop and think carefully, to look back at Then with the same scrutiny you apply to looking at Now, and before long you come to the conclusion that there is little difference between them, that the Now and the Then are essentially the same.
Some memories are so strange to you, so unlikely, so outside the realm of the plausible, that you find it difficult to reconcile them with the fact that you are the person who experienced the events you are remembering.


Bikram said...

that strikes a cord indeed some memories are like that , makes you think twice DID it really happen was it really you who did that .. :)


indu chhibber said...

Very interesting excerpts ,thank you for sharing them.I am sure this book will be a good read.