View Full Version : Paul Auster: The New York Trilogy
A detective story only superficially. A thoughtful, interesting mental puzzle, not for the timid or casual reader. If it borrows from the traditional detective genre it is from Chandler or Thompson, a search by a lost soul among lost souls, with little hope or intention of being found. Auster provides the clue to where to begin to understand his book - look to Cervantes' Don Quixote. New York Trilogy is fundamentally a writer writing about writing, the creative process, losing one's self in order to create another, separate self. Auster's twist is that the journey back "home" to one's self, to an original identity (if such a thing does indeed even exist at the end of the process) is uncertain. Conrad pioneered the psychoanalytical approach to literature, the supreme struggle within one's own mind; cowardice and bravery, truth and fiction, overpowering the external, physical actions. Auster takes this approach to the extreme. Everything that has meaning exists in the psychological. What exists in the physical is at best a reflection of the mind's perceptions, an illusory substrate for the creative process (quantum physicists could relate to this - the physical has meaning only in relation to the observer, directly effected by the process of observation). It is also a terrifying confession to admit to a loss of one's own identity, to intentionally lose one's self in order to accomplish a specific end (the creation of a work of literature). To be, for an indefinite period, without a name, a home, a life to call your own. In the end it is, as Auster simply states, a question in response to a question. The answer is left for the reader to decide, it must come from the reader's own mind, if the reader is up to the challenge
I plan to make this my next Auster novel. I want to read "City of Glass" and compare it with David Mazzucchelli's comic book adaptation. I'm also curious to see what Auster does with the detective genre.
it will be a very nice surprise, you'll see
I've just started reading Auster's "The New York Trilogy" and am finding it quite interesting. I believe the three books originally appeared in 1985, 1986, and 1987, and as a trilogy in that last year.
When this particular thread was still alive, I'd never examined any of his work. But times change, and I find his style more comprehensible now.
Any of you current members read the three short novels (total of about 300 pages)?
I'm hearing more and more about this author, or should I say, he appears to be cropping up quite often in critical articles and on radio. Unless I'm imagining and overstating this.
Perhaps it's his time.
I greatly enjoyed the trilogy but have been disappointed in everything else I have read by him.
I'm not much into detective fiction, but greatly appreciated City of Glass, which I read a couple of months ago. Back then I didn't want the book to end. I started reading Ghosts right after but didn't found it as impressive as City of Glass. I'm curious to read the graphic novel by David Mazzuchelli, since he did an amazing work in Asterios Polyp.
For Those Who've Read City of Glass: Possibly Worth Looking Into
SPOILERS if you haven't read the book.
So. I read this book a few months ago, and something had always bothered me. In City of Glass, recall that Quinn discovers that Peter Stillman has been "writing" him a message on the various walks he takes. (He draws a map of where Stillman walked and produces a letter each day) At the end of the book, Quinn wonders what word would be spelled out if he drew maps for all the steps he himself had taken.
I remembered a particularly long section in which Quinn's walking route is described. In the 2006 Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, this is on pages 104-105, and then finished on 110. I decided to draw out the map on google maps and see what showed up. Here it is:
Now, maybe it's nothing. But doesn't that maybe look like a sideways detective hat? It's not a word, which is disappointing, so maybe I'm just willing myself to see things in it. Thoughts?
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