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Paul Auster

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Paul Auster Is Huge in France, on Crosby Street

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The two women hurried to finish their cigarettes on the steps of Housing Works bookstore last night, exchanging excited, quick trills in French: Paul Auster was about to arrive in person. This was not surprising: The first thing you hear as you approach an Auster reading, anywhere in the world, is French. Merely a best-selling author in these parts, Auster is a rock star in Paris. He is a subject of picture books — one, called Paul Auster’s New York, contains photos of locales from le maître’s novels — regarded as an official ambassador of authentic New Yorkiness, alongside Woody Allen. And a quick scan of the fans who turned out for a reading from his new novel, Travels in the Scriptorium, suggested a similar ardor can be found in many foreign countries.

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