Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press


by Paul Auster

A taut yet expansive novel of love, memory, and grief from Paul Auster, best-selling, award-winning author and “one of the great American prose stylists of our time” (New York Times)

  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 208
  • Publication Date November 07, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6144-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Publication Date November 07, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6153-6
  • US List Price $27.00

Paul Auster’s brilliant eighteenth novel opens with a scorched pot of water, which Sy Baumgartner — phenomenologist, noted author, and soon-to-be retired philosophy professor – has just forgotten on the stove.

Baumgartner’s life had been defined by his deep, abiding love for his wife, Anna, who was killed in a swimming accident nine years earlier. Now 71, Baumgartner continues to struggle to live in her absence as the novel sinuously unfolds into spirals of memory and reminiscence, delineated in episodes spanning from 1968, when Sy and Anna meet as broke students working and writing in New York, through their passionate relationship over the next forty years, and back to Baumgartner’s youth in Newark and his Polish-born father’s life as a dress-shop owner and failed revolutionary.

Rich with compassion, wit, and Auster’s keen eye for beauty in the smallest, most transient moments of ordinary life, Baumgartner asks: Why do we remember certain moments, and forget others? In one of his most luminous works and his first novel since the Booker-shortlisted tour-de-force 4 3 2 1, Paul Auster captures several lifetimes.

Tags Literary

Praise for Baumgartner:

“[A] slender, ruminative novel . . . Auster writes movingly about seeming to recover after great loss.”—The New Yorker

“At its heart, Baumgartner is about warring states of mind. Our hero is a philosophy professor . . . who lost his wife nearly 10 years ago in a freak accident and has been caught between hanging on and letting go—or even pushing away—ever since . . . Now in his early 70s, Sy has his own mortality to contend with and what the future looks like for whatever time he has left. The novel walks us through what he thinks about and, more important, how he thinks. How his thoughts assemble and fall apart, how they produce a kind of cumulative power that dissipates just as powerfully in the face of life’s little intrusions . . . As [C.S.] Lewis put it: ‘Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.’ Baumgartner, for its quiet and thoughtful meandering, reads the same way.”New York Times

“A captivating portrait of a man who has loved and lost and is preparing for his last stage of life . . . Baumgartner proves fascinating and endearing for having the ability to examine his own history—where he came from, what he has experienced and where he has ended up . . . a late-career triumph.”—Malcolm Forbes, Los Angeles Times

“A profound character study of a man whose advancing years are shaped by mourning and memory. . . . Sy lives simultaneously in both the present and the past, and Auster navigates these two narrative tracks nimbly [and] . . . . the effect builds to a beautiful approximation of memory’s fluidity and allure. This is one to savor.”Publishers Weekly

“Baumgartner’s mind is full of late-life insights and angst, while his capacity for love provides a rich emotional seam. Auster packs a lot into this slim novel . . . An always intriguing writer.”Kirkus Reviews

“The subject of lost loved ones and all that follows in the wake of such a loss is hardly unusual in contemporary literature, but Paul Auster’s Baumgartner is a worthy addition to the body of fiction that treats the subject. It’s a well-drawn portrait of a man wrestling with grief, and a sensitive character study that displays many of the qualities for which Auster’s been lauded in a long literary career . . . Baumgartner’s story is revealed in episodic fashion and with precise, observant, and sometimes touching detail… Poignant.”Shelf Awareness

“Auster presents his eighteenth novel, a finely distilled tale of a charmingly self-deprecating and forthright intellectual and romantic . . . Auster’s portrait of a thoughtful man embracing loss and love is a gorgeous, subtly suspenseful revelation of the covert dramas of a contemplative, kind, and expressive life.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

“[An] inspiring and sensitive portrayal of the complexities of getting older . . . Auster’s narrative and observations are lucid, pithy and moving . . . Nuanced, compassionate and simply eloquent, Baumgartner is a stirring portrait of a man trying to adapt to his aging body and mind.”—Maya Fleischmann, BookPage

Praise for Paul Auster: 

“One of the great American prose stylists of our time.”New York Times

“Auster really does possess the wand of the enchanter.”New York Review of Books

“One of the great writers of our time.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Contemporary American writing at its best.”New York Times Book Review, on Invisible

“A literary original who is perfecting a hybrid genre of his own.”Wall Street Journal