Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story

ISBN: 0805077235
ISBN 13: 9780805077230
By: Paul Auster Isol

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About this book

A timeless, utterly charming Christmas fable, beautifully illustrated and destined to become a classic When Paul Auster was asked by The New York Times to write a Christmas story for the Op-Ed page, the result, "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story," led to Auster's collaboration on a film adaptation, Smoke. Now the story has found yet another life in this enchanting illustrated edition.It begins with a writer's dilemma: he's been asked by The New York Times to write a story that will appear in the paper on Christmas morning. The writer agrees, but he has a problem: How to write an unsentimental Christmas story? He unburdens himself to his friend at his local cigar shop, a colorful character named Auggie Wren. "A Christmas story? Is that all?" Auggie counters. "If you buy me lunch, my friend, I'll tell you the best Christmas story you ever heard. And I guarantee every word of it is true."And an unconventional story it is, involving a lost wallet, a blind woman, and a Christmas dinner. Everything gets turned upside down. What's stealing? What's giving? What's a lie? What's the truth? It's vintage Auster, and pure pleasure: a truly unsentimental but completely affecting tale.

Reader's Thoughts


I was killing time at the library today and this little book captured my attention so I grabbed it and read it while waiting for my bus. February is perhaps not the best time for this christmasy short story but I enjoyed it anyway! Will be looking for something a bit longer by this author.

Catherine Mustread

Christmas story about a lost wallet, blind woman, stolen camera and Christmas dinner.

Ghizlane Zarrouk

This is the most nontraditional christmas story i've read so far. there is no christmas tree, no exchange of gifts no christmas shopping nothing, nada... what is interesting about this short story is that we have a fiction, another story, within the original story. so we have Paul a writer, who likes to smoke little Dutch cigars and who was asked or,to be precise,persuaded to write a short story for the New York Times to be published on christmas morning. u see Paul seems to have a problem, not concerning writing of course because he is a writer but a problem with the celebration itself. and we have Aughie, works at a cigar store, where Paul buys his little Dutch cigars, he is an artist, a photographer, he jumped and showed Paul, when he found out that Paul is a writer, his life work a set of twelve albums containing more than four thousand photographs. Paul soon realizes after going through Auggies photographs that Auggie was capturing time in his work. Auggie offered his help right after Paul told him about the problem he was facing and told him "the best christmas story", the main characters in Auggie's christmas story is the Grandmother Ethel and Auggie himself. By the end of Auggie's story we know how he started his hobby of photographing.


Managed to read the translation into German very quickly - though I know the story from Smoke anyway.


An unconventional seasonal tale. Quick, fun read. Best enjoyed during the second reading. Illustrations by Isol are eclectic.

Mary Alice

This is a gem of a little story. I am so happy to have discovered it. Takes only 15 minutes to read, and the illustrations are wonderfully charming. :)


Not really a story... I was expecting a magical twist in the tale, but it just petered out rather disappointingly. The book looks like it is aimed at children, but I can't imagine any child whose attention or imagination would be captured by it.

Jack Silbert

This slim book and I go back about four years. I picked it up that summer at a library book sale where I was volunteering--we get a free book as our "payment." And I set the book aside with the intention of reading it on Christmas.Well, Christmas came and went and I forgot to read the book. So I had to wait for year two. And that Christmas went perfectly. As perfectly as it can go for a single Jew, anyway. On Christmas Eve, I went to the movies and afterward entered a nearby bar which I'd never been in. The mood was so friendly inside, the lighting just right. Christmas movies and football games on the TVs. I sat at a small table, ate, drank, and read Auggie Wren's Christmas Story, which had been tucked in my jacket pocket.Reading it, I experienced the magical "shock of recognition." This story was recreated in the great movie Smoke! A cigar store, a robbery, a blind old woman on Christmas. And as the movie ends, we hear the beautiful Tom Waits song, "Innocent When You Dream." It's just about perfect, and reading this book was like visiting with a dear old friend.While I sat in the bar, I got a text message out of the blue from, well, a dear old friend. Asking if I had New Year's plans. I didn't... and now I did. It was a Christmas Eve for the ages.I reviewed the book on some rival online site, and was pleased that I had a new holiday tradition. I like traditions.Except, year three, I had concert tickets on Christmas Eve. So, no movie, no bar, no Auggie.Which brings us to this year. I was worried; the bar and movie theater had both been badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The bar had finally reopened but we were still waiting for the theater. But on December 21, the theater did at last reopen. As it got dark, I walked up there, book again in pocket. A string of Christmas lights was on at the bar, across the way. Everything was set.As I walked out of the theater, a light snow was falling. This couldn't be more perfect. Except... now the lights were off at the bar. Where do I go now? And this snow is kind of annoying. I'll need a hat or an umbrella or something if I'm going to be walking farther. I dropped into the Rite Aid and rooted through the umbrella rack. No, no, too expensive, I have three umbrellas at home, half a mile away. No, I'm just going to get wet.I headed to the town's main drag. An awful lot of places are closed on Christmas Eve. After several blocks, I found a spot where I'd had some happy times with friends in years gone by. They were open, and the kitchen was open, and that was good enough for me. No Guinness on tap; I was having a holiday craving for a Guinness. Oh well, I'll manage.The mood was... acceptable. Not perfect, but perfection is hard to recreate. I sat at the bar, ate, drank, and read Auggie Wren's Christmas Story. And it was brilliant all over again. It's short, real short, but the illustrations make you slow down and let it all sink in. It's like a picture book for grown ups. And the light was pretty dim so i couldn't make out all the details in the illustrations. But that seemed to fit this story of an old blind woman and the gentle lies we tell each other and tell ourselves to get from one day to another.I didn't get any New Year's text messages while I read the book, but nobody expects lightning to strike twice. It was OK. The food was real good, the beer was flowing, and I was so happy to spend a little more time with Auggie Wren. I imagine I'll see him next year too.


A great short story. I listened to it here - - read by the author.

Vicki Steevensz

Charming and quirky.


I went to the library today to watch a VHS tape of my work for a class. But when I got there, they told me that they don't let people watch their own VHS tapes, only tapes from the library. I asked why and they told me that if people could just bring in their own tapes and watch them they would never stop. Yup. Good thing the librarians are keeping a handle on things because we wouldn't want crazy people like me camping out in the library with their homework. Guess I'm supposed to go buy a TV and VCR.Anyway, no big deal about the tape, I'll find somewhere else to watch it and I had an application I wanted to fax. No fax machine at the library though. I though copiers and fax machines would be par for the course, but not so much. So I decided to get one of the books off my to-read list. But it was checked out. Oh..... Didn't want the whole trip to be a waste so I went downstairs to the fiction section and decided to wander around until I found a book.I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I have never heard anything about its spine. And that is exactly what I did. I knew I didn't want anything too long (heavy to take on Muni) so when I saw this tiny red spine with perky black capital letters, I was intrigued.Turns out the book is illustrated which seemed like a sign since the book I had initially wanted was also illustrated. I really didn't like the illustrations as part Auggie Wren. The art itself (by Isol who I cna only imagine must be a well known artist to go by only one name) has a strong graphic quality and pallet that reminds me of the art in The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Stories. But the pictures, especially of the people, seem inspired by the words rather than lifelike. I found myself trying very hard not to look at them until after I finished each page. They were jarring to the very end of the story.But the writing itself was lovely. I really felt as though someone was speaking to me the entire time. The sentences are spare but evocative and the subject is entertaining. Something about the writing reminded me of Capote's stories. Anyway, this is a wonderful book that I read rather quickly and I think deserves a more leisurely read because I think I would get new layers out of it. At 36 pages (half of which are illustrations) it's a perfect read for those of you with busy lives. Let me know what you think of it.


Recuerdo la historia de Auggie Wren como epílogo de la película Cigarros, y recuerdo que fue muy, muy conmovedora. el libro no lo es menos: la navidad de Auggie, la historia de cómo adquirió su afamada cámara es una maravilla.


Certainly a non-traditional Christmas story, very short in presentation, a little bit of a gem as well; no-nonsense in the telling as is Auggie Wren, a colorful character from whom the author received the story with the assurance that "every word is true." Well it might be at that, who knows?


Es un cuento relativamente simple, sin grandes pretenciones, sin demasiados mensajes ocultos para desentrañar, pero que cumple con el cometido de contar una época del año con un matiz diferente.Más detalles de la reseña del libro en mi blog:


Auster es un narrador nato. No hay que esperar figuras complicadas de lenguaje, metaforas, pensamientos profundos, narraciones no liniales, divgaciones filosoficas. Solo historias. Historias faciles de leer, tal vez faciles de imaginar (como no se me ocurren a mi). Esta historia tiene 32 paginas (incluidas las ilustraciones)

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