Paul Auster was born in 1947 in Newark, New Jersey, to Jewish middle class parents of Polish descent Samuel and Queenie Auster. He grew up in South Orange, New Jersey and graduated from Columbia High School in adjoining Maplewood. After graduating from Columbia University in 1970, he moved to Paris, France where he earned a living translating French literature. Since returning to the U.S. in 1974, he has published poems, essays, novels of his own as well as translations of French writers such as Stephane Mallarme and Joseph Joubert and is known for works blending absurdism and crime fiction, such as The New York Trilogy (1987), Moon Palace (1989), and The Brooklyn Follies (2005).
He married his second wife, writer Siri Hustvedt, in 1981, and they live together in Brooklyn. Together they have one daughter, Sophie Auster. Previously, Auster was married to the acclaimed writer Lydia Davis. They had one son together, Daniel Auster.