Hand to Mouth A Chronicle of Early Failure

Paul Auster




Trade Paperback

176 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy
Paul Auster's Hand to Mouth is a fascinating and often funny memoir about his early years as a young, struggling writer. From one odd job to the next, from one failed scheme to another, Auster investigates his own stubborn compulsion to make art and describes his ingenious, often farfetched attempts to survive on next to nothing. From the streets of New York City, Dublin, and Paris to a dusty little village in Mexico, Auster introduces an unforgettable cast of characters while examining what it means to be a writer.


Praise for Hand to Mouth

"Delightful . . . A gracious and humane tale . . . One can only marvel at Auster’s artistry."—The Boston Globe

"An engaging account of his early attempts to stay afloat as a writer . . . with a colorful cast of sharply etched characters who he meets along the way."—Chicago Tribune

"Auster writes in a voice so clear, so mesmerizing, and so profound . . . He is unafraid of his own power, precisely because he has acknowledged humiliation’s alchemy, its way of letting words vibrate at whatever weird, golden velocity they wish. Hand to Mouth vibrates . . . beautiful."—Wayne Koestenbaum, Bookforum

"Required, inspiring reading for Auster-holics and aspiring writers."—Kirkus Reviews

"As a cautionary tale for writers, this is a superb book."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

IN MY LATE twenties and early thirties, I went through a period of several years when everything I touched turned to failure. My marriage ended in divorce, my work as a writer foundered, and I was overwhelmed by money problems. I'm not just talking about an occasional shortfall or some periodic belt tightenings--but a constant, grinding, almost suffocating lack of money that poisoned my soul and kept me in a state of never-ending panic.There was no one to blame but myself. My relationship to money had always been flawed, enigmatic, full of contradictory impulses, and now I was
Read the full excerpt


  • Paul Auster

  • Paul Auster Lisbeth Salas Soto
    Paul Auster