Auster-Coetzee Correspondence: A Must Read

Correspondence between literary figures has always fascinated me. I so enjoyed the forty-five years of letter writing between Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell which took place from 1935-1980. The younger of the two, Durrell, clearly came across as the far more serious thinker in this four decades plus exchange of missives.
The recently published book, Here and Now: Letters (2008-2011), a compilation of three years of correspondence between the writers Paul Auster and J. M. Coetzee, is genuinely an exchange of thoughts from two intellectual equals. These two authors, Coetzee, the South African émigré who settled in Australia, and Auster, a true blue New Yorker, have developed an incredibly close personal bond over the years, evolving from a collegial relationship to a solid friendship between them and their wives as well.
All is fair game in the correspondence. There is a light tone and amusing banter as they both recall how many hours of time they wasted on passively watching sports on TV, while they should have been engaged in their writing craft. This is countered with fatalistic pessimism as they muse upon the impasse of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Auster and Coetzee are modern day Renaissance Men, informed and engaged, observing and commenting on the great parade of life that they are witnessing. Here and Now is a book that you will enjoy immensely.

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