Here and Now: Letters, 2008-2011

Paul Auster, JM Coetzee

Here and Now: Letters, 2008-2011

Although Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee had been reading each other's books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis and, "God willing, strike sparks off each other." Here and Now is the result of that proposal: an epistolary dialogue between two great writers who became great friends. Over three years their letters touched on nearly every subject, from sports to fatherhood, film festivals to incest, philosophy to politics, from the financial crisis to art, family, marriage, friendship, and love. Their correspondence offers an intimate and often amusing portrait of these two men as they explore the complexities of the here and now and is a reflection of two sharp intellects whose pleasure in each other's friendship is apparent on every page. 3.8 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Here and Now: Letters, 2008-2011

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Literary Studies & Criticism, Essays, Journals & Letters
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication March 2013
ISBN 978-0571299263
Publisher Viking Books
 

Although Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee had been reading each other's books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis and, "God willing, strike sparks off each other." Here and Now is the result of that proposal: an epistolary dialogue between two great writers who became great friends. Over three years their letters touched on nearly every subject, from sports to fatherhood, film festivals to incest, philosophy to politics, from the financial crisis to art, family, marriage, friendship, and love. Their correspondence offers an intimate and often amusing portrait of these two men as they explore the complexities of the here and now and is a reflection of two sharp intellects whose pleasure in each other's friendship is apparent on every page.

Reviews

The Independent

Arifa Akbar

Flashes of wit give these letters a wonderful humanity … The most moving passages are ones in which they discuss ageing, and death. Coetzee's sadness is in not being able to bequeath the imagination that he has spent decades harnessing. Auster's is in the loneliness of losing those with shared memories. Yes, these are old Gramps putting the world to rights, but uniquely insightful, unfailingly interesting, men of letters too.

10/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Sunday Telegraph

Jon Day

As letter-writing has declined, so the published epistolary exchange has become a slightly self-conscious affair … There’s the occasional lapse in Here and Now, but most of the time you feel that Auster and Coetzee are addressing each other directly and honestly. Some of it is rather moving, and underpinning it all is genuine affection.

07/05/2013

Read Full Review


The Spectator

David Sexton

In love, there is always one who kisses and one who offers the cheek. So too in the luckless genre of letters artificially exchanged for the purposes of publication ... we can be grateful to Auster for having played the part of correspondent well enough to have permitted this exchange at all, even though it doesn’t flow, and consists mainly of Coetzee announcing what he has on his mind and Auster attempting to respond satisfactorily, while intruding his own books and experiences into the discussion wherever possible ... They are so plainly not equals.

18/05/2013

Read Full Review


The New York Times

Martin Riker

… I found myself wondering what Here and Now would have been like if each author had corresponded with someone he agreed with less often. That would’ve been a different book, of course, and perhaps more important for its authors, a different sort of friendship. Because friendship is really the point of Here and Now. They did not set out to make a book, but to make a friendship, and this fact accounts for many of the book’s weaknesses as well as its strengths

15/03/2013

Read Full Review


The Observer

Tim Adams

In place of banter or self-revelation Auster and Coetzee let us in on their writerly thoughts about things — the financial crash, incest, chess, the two-state solution to the Middle East — in a spirit of earnest inquiry, and in doing so provide a slightly bloodless insight into their relationship with the creative process. They are, of course, both extremely clever fellows, with a shared passion for formal experiment, and an often dazzling insight into the human condition, so you wonder just a bit why they want to publish at this lower wattage.

19/05/2013

Read Full Review


©2013 The Omnivore