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le 4 octobre 2013
This quite passionate book is almost an autobiography written at the relatively tender age of 64 by an icon of American literature, but not quite. He is reticent about his two children and his sister, but quite open about the rest of both his parents' families short histories (and with a terrible family secret revealed only when he was in his early 20s). This reader is struck by PA's powers of memory and the clarity of his making sense of his life at different stages.
Another sign that this is not an autobiography is the near absence of references to what he is most famous for: a New York-based creator of works of art, mostly literature. Not a word about the challenge of the white page or about the books, poems and screenplays he wrote or the films he directed.
At another level this looks like a book of lists, about illnesses, injuries and other medical mishap. A list of all the houses/homes he has lived in, countries visited and for how long or about the number of US states he set foot in (40). A gold mine for future biographers. Towards the end of the book this listing habit returns with PA's favorite sweets, foods, soft drinks and stronger stuff. And his regrets about how harshly smoking has been restricted.
PA's turning point in life was meeting his wife of >30 years, Siri Hustvedt who has also become a highly respected novelist and essayist. PA quotes their daughter describing her identity as `Jewegian', reflecting her dad's Polish Jewish and mother's Norwegian Lutheran roots.
Find PA's title and final words too pessimistic. At 64 most people would rather view themselves as living in the Indian summer or autumn of their lives, not the start of winter. But his Wikipedia entry quotes him as saying that his drawer is empty, he has run out of ideas for another novel...
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