Paul Benjamin Auster was born on February 3, 1947 in Newark, New Jersey.
His father, Samuel Auster, was a landlord; his mother, Queenie was about 13
years younger than her husband; the marriage was not a happy one.
Auster's passion for reading began when he was about 12 and his uncle, Allen Mandelbaum (a professor of Italian literature, a poet, and a prolific translator) left several boxes of books in storage in the Auster's house while he traveled to Europe. Paul read the books avidly and developed an interest in writing and literature that further accentuated his feeling that he was "an internal émigré, an exile in my own house." (from his memoir, Hand to Mouth)
He went to school in Maplewood, New Jersey and then to Columbia University. In 1967 he left the USA to attend Columbia's Junior Year Abroad in Paris, but found it uninspiring and undemanding so quit college and lived in a small hotel in Paris, before returning...