Thursday, January 7, 2010

Paul Auster (Auggie Wren's Christmas Story)

Auggie Wren's Christmas Story is written by American novelist and poet Paul Auster. It was originally published in the New York Times Op Ed page on Christmas of 1990. It begins by describing how the author and Auggie, who worked in a cigar store in Brooklyn, had come to be friends.They had maintained a purely pecuniary relationship until Auggie comes across a book review in a magazine whose accompanying photograph identifies the writer as Paul, his faithful customer. At this point, his status of customer had been elevated to that of "an ally, a confidant, a brother-in-arms". The story revolves around an anecdote Auggie had shared with Paul when the latter was commissioned by the New York Times to write a Christmas story for the paper. Paul believed that "Christmas stories were no more than wish-fulfillment dreams, fairy tales for adults", and it was an oxymoron as well as, in his mind, an impossibility to write an unsentimental Christmas story. But Auggie had provided Paul what he needed-- a story involving two thefts, a blind woman and an impromptu Christmas feast.

Paul Auster's Auggie Wren's Christmas Story proved to be a wonderful way to kick off the A-Z reading challenge. The story was written with such straightforwardness and ease, but it's the feeling of what has been left unsaid that makes the story more captivating.

My favorite part of the book is where Auggie was showing Paul his albums which contained photographs he had taken from a single spot at 7 o' clock every day for 12 years. Paul, anesthetized by the repetition, flipped through the pages mindlessly, to which Auggie replied, as much a reaction to Paul's carelessness as a reminder about our own: You're going too fast. You'll never get it if you don't slow down.

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