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    Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure (Paperback) By (author) Paul Auster

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    DescriptionThis is the story of a young writer's struggle to stay afloat. Paul Auster's memoir is essentially about money - and what it means not to have it. From one odd job to the next, from one failed scheme to another, he investigates his own stubborn compulsion to make art, and in the process shares with readers of this book a series of adventures and encounters. The book ends with three of the longest footnotes in literary history, including a card game, a baseball thriller, and three unproduced short plays.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Hand to Mouth

    Hand to Mouth
    A Chronicle of Early Failure
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Paul Auster
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 448
    Width: 126 mm
    Height: 192 mm
    Thickness: 38 mm
    Weight: 281 g
    ISBN 13: 9780571195978
    ISBN 10: 0571195970

    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1KBB
    BIC subject category V2: DSK
    BIC E4L: BIO
    BIC language qualifier (language as subject) V2: 2ACG
    DC21: 813.54
    LC subject heading:
    BIC subject category V2: DSBH, BGA
    LC subject heading:
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 11600
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T4.5A
    BISAC V2.8: BIO007000
    LC subject heading:
    Libri: ENGM1075
    BISAC V2.8: LIT000000
    Libri: ERIN2036
    BIC subject category V2: 1KBB
    BISAC V2.8: BIO026000
    BIC subject category V2: 2ACG
    Thema V1.0: DSK, DSBH, DNBA
    Edition statement
    Trade Paperback.
    Imprint name
    Publication date
    16 November 1998
    Publication City/Country
    Author Information
    Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions, The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger for Leviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
    Review quote
    “Delightful...A gracious and humane tale...One can only marvel at Auster’s artistry. —T"he Boston Sunday Globe" “Auster writes in a voice so clear, so mesmerizing, and so profound...[he] is unafraid of his own power, precisely because he has acknowledged humiliation’s alchemy, its way of letting words vibrate at whatever weird, golden velocity they wish, "Hand to Mouth "vibrates...beautiful.” —Wayne Koestenbaum, "Bookforum" “Required, inspiring reading for Auster-holics and aspiring writers.” —"Kirkus Reviews" “An engaging account of his early attempts to stay afloat as a writer...with a colorful cast of sharply etched characters who he meets along the way.” —"Chicago Tribune" “As a cautionary tale for writers, this is a superb book.” —"Publishers Weekly"
    Review text
    Artistic failure, financial woes, and broken love are the subjects of Auster's wide-ranging philosophical memoir, a candid assessment of the demands and rewards of art, work, and money. Auster's (Mr. Vertigo, 1994; Leviathan, 1992; etc.) success provides an ironic subtext to this catalog of misery: The author of 14 books of fiction, poetry, essays, screenplays, and translations laughs last, since this putative chronicle of failure includes work that originally lacked an audience. That material, presented in three appendixes, includes a trio of one-act plays (one of which, Laurel and Hardy Go to Heaven, isn't bad); Action Baseball, a nifty game complete with cut-out playing cards that failed as a desperate get-rich-quick scheme; and Squeeze Play, a thinking man's mystery featuring a wise-cracking Ivy League gumshoe. All provide interesting footnotes to Auster's development as a novelist. The main attraction, though, is the long title essay, a bare-knuckles grapple with the choices he made during a rocky literary apprenticeship. The central problem, Auster writes, "was that I had no interest in leading a double life" like writers who "earn good money at legitimate professions" and write in their spare time. He took the old-fashioned approach, eschewing MFA programs (both as a student and teacher) to earn his chops in the school of hard knocks. He shipped out with the merchant marine, explored France and Ireland, won a few minor grants. But despite help from friends like Mary McCarthy (whose influence led to a memorable freelance gig translating a new Vietnamese constitution in 1973), Auster spent years of penury doing "literary hackwork" while his fiction went nowhere and his marriage foundered. Even an attempt to sell out ended with his publisher kaput and a detective novel languishing in a warehouse. Risk and failure - common themes in Auster's work - gain real-life urgency as autobiography. Required, inspiring reading for Auster-holics and aspiring writers. (Kirkus Reviews)