Paul Auster: anti-Bush reader and songwriter

Last Saturday’s London Times featured a piece on Paul Auster and his loathing for the Bush administration. Usually reluctant to discuss his novels-in-progress, Auster read the “unpublished opening pages of what will be his tenth novel” for last month’s Downtown for Democracy event. James Bone of the Times reports:

Titled The Brooklyn Follies, it began: “I was looking for a great place to die. Someone recommended Brooklyn.”

Only near-fury could propel the author into such an act of recklessness. In conversation at the well appointed Brooklyn townhouse he shares with his novelist-wife Siri Hustvedt, he confides that this year’s US election has whipped him up into a lather. “I am burning with passion about this whole campaign,” he growls. “For me, it feels almost like a matter of life and death for Americans that we get Bush out of office.” This is Auster, the poet, translator, novelist, essayist, editor, screenwriter, radio personality and film director, in a new incarnation: intellectual “engage”.

To prove the point, he slides a CD into the impressive hi-fi console in his parlour. From the speakers comes the rasping voice of his local French cafe owner belting out a song Auster wrote on the outbreak of the Iraq war. (It can be downloaded at www.topplebush.com.) Called the King George Blues, its harsh melody and biting lyrics make it sound like a number from The Threepenny Opera sung by a male Lotte Lenya.

The fat men are in charge

The thin men take the barge

To Hell

To Hell

To Hell.


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