Paul Auster on Activism, James Baldwin and the Horrors of Trump
The Author of 4 3 2 1 in Conversation with Paul Holdengraber
Paul Auster talks to Paul Holdengraber about the nature of the unexpected, the nature of the self, and the cruel nature of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Auster’s new novel, 4 3 2 1 is available January 31 from Henry Holt.
Paul Auster on the continuous sense of self…
I suppose a continuous sense of self emerges in a person around age six or so when you’re able to reflect on the fact that you’re thinking a thought and can tell yourself that you’re thinking that thought. I think out of that self-consciousness comes the capability of creating a narrative inside yourself about yourself. We go through our lives telling this story of ourselves to ourselves and it’s pretty much unbroken from age six until the end as long as we don’t lose our marbles somewhere along the way.
Paul Auster on the brilliance of James Baldwin…
He really is an extraordinarily good writer, and brave and also filled with feeling—everything from rage to exquisite tenderness. He really is one of our good ones, one of the good writers America has produced.
Paul Auster on Voldie’s rise to the presidency…
Gloom and misery. Grief and ever-increasing anger. That’s how I feel about it. I don’t see a single ray of light in these events at all. It’s all bad and I have nothing positive to say about it at all. It’s really, truly one of the most depressing things I’ve ever witnessed as an American.
I’m hoping there is going to be a whole new generation of activists. I’m hoping the young people are going to mobilize and push back because we have to be very vigilant now—otherwise if they do what they say they want to do we are going to lose the country. It’s not going to be America anymore, and all these institutions that we’ve always looked upon as granite buildings—we’re going to understand that they’re actually made out of soap, and when they start shooting their hoses at those places there are just going to be a lot of suds in the streets and nothing much to keep us going as a country, so it’s very scary to me.