Paul Auster published “A Country Bathed in Blood” this year (Photo: Edu Bayer)

This morning, the world of literature was appalled by the news: the famous American writer Paul Auster he has cancer. The announcement has been made Siri Hustvedt on his official Instagram account, where he gave details of what is happening.

“I have been away from Instagram for a while. The reason for this is that my husband was diagnosed with cancer in December, after being ill for several months before. He is currently receiving treatment at the Sloan Kettering of new Yorkand I lived in a place that I call Cancerlandia. Many people have crossed its borders, either because they themselves are or have been sick, or because they love someone, a parent, a child, a spouse or a friend who has or has had cancer. Cancer is different for each person who has it. All human bodies are identical and no two are identical,” begins the text by the writer, Auster’s partner since 1987.

Siri Hustvedt's post on Instagram
Siri Hustvedt’s post on Instagram

And carry on.

“Some people survive it and some people die. Everyone knows this, and yet living this truth up close changes daily reality.

Intimacy with another person is not just a parallel experience, two lines that move in the same direction but do not cross. It’s much more like a dynamic Venn diagram – if that’s possible -: overlapping parts of two circles move and change over time. An “I” and a “you” in movement which is also “we”.

I think it would be horrible to be alone in Cancerlandia. Living with someone who has cancer and is bombarded with chemotherapy and immunotherapy is an adventure of closeness and separation. You have to be close enough to feel the annoying treatments almost as if they were your own and far enough away to be of real help. Too much empathy can render a person useless. This tightrope isn’t always easy to walk, of course, but it’s the real labor of love.

You may be interested: Paul Auster’s New Book: America Trapped by Its Own Weapons

The last years have been very hard for the writer; his son, Daniel Austerwas charged with the accidental homicide of her ten-month-old baby by an overdose of heroin and fentanyl, only to die of an overdose five months later.

This year he had just published his new book, A country bathed in blood (Bloodbath nation in its original English), where he analyzes the violence generated by the use of weapons in the United States, which causes more than 40,000 deaths each year.

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