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Paul Auster

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Paul Auster Is Huge in France, on Crosby Street

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.