I loved The New York Trilogy. I cannot say the same thing for Hand to Mouth. But maybe I am not the right person for Auster’s autobiographies. Actually, this is – I think – his third authobiography. He writes of himself as “you”, in second person, maybe to add some distance between him and himself.
My interest went up and down. I must admit that I did not like the lists: lists of things he did, of actions, of people… in my opinion you cannot write a page full of list. You can do it in your journal, if you keep it in your drawer… same reasoning for the lack of internal order: he writes subjects as they get his memory: from early years, to the 64th birthday, from writing, to house moving, from panic attaks to marriage, from sexual impulses to dance.
I appreciated the parts in wich he tells about his mother’s Youth and Death, and how she was despised by the “dour matrons of father’s family” because she acted as if she was the most beautiful woman on the earth. But I also liked the way in wich he remembers her, as a woman who was, at the same time, very practical, active and sensitive. And I love the doutful life she had, because the author will never know if she had a lover during her marriage or not.
At the end: no, I did not like this book very much, but if you have the change, please do read it. It is anyway a collection of memories of a man who has lived, loved, written, read, suffered and travelled a lot (Gosh, I do not know how many times he moved from a house to another: I would become mad doing that!). A little sad, maybe, because he reminds us that we will wither too, despite all our current ebullience, but anyway useful.