Tuesday, February 10, 2009

REVIEW: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

Three postmodern, dream-like tales of urban paranoia on the subject of the nature of identity. In the first a crime writer is drawn into a mysterious investigation; in the second a man spies on someone from an apartment; and in the third the childhood friend of a disappeared man is made his literary executor. Auster's prose glitters and beguiles, but does not offer anything as mundane as objective truth.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise by now that I love Paul Auster. This is one of those books that have stayed with me long after I've finished reading its last page. I'm left with a lot of questions and uncertainties. I'm left feeling completely perplexed and unsure of what I've just read but I find that the journey to that point is something I can't give up.

Initially, I was a little put off at the fact that the three books in this trilogy (City of Glass, Ghosts, and Locked Room) are detective stories but of course, it being Auster, they aren't typical detective stories. He turns the classic detective story and spins it so that this is a study of identity. Both of the characters in the books, the relationship between reader and author, the pursued and the pursuer.

The subtlety of the writing, the depth of themes and the way in which each story is connected, the darkness of the subject matter, the books within the books. The combination of all these continue to make Paul Auster my favourite author ever. You haven't read anything by Paul Auster then you are sorely missing out.


  1. I am so missing out. I still hardly read. I havent picked up my book for about a week now I have been that busy. If I am ever short of reading material, I know to just search your blog for some good recommendations! x

  2. Sounds interesting. I'll have to put that one on my list.

    I'm reading a series you might like. I'm on the second one now, but its called The House of Night series by P.C. Cast. She's a young adult/teen author. The series is about vampires, but not the usual vampire lore. It's kinda interesting so far.

  3. I really want to read this. I remember you talking about him the other week. I am hoping to get this from the library. I have a feeling I will like it. To answer your question about my girls - they are nine going on nineteen!

  4. Paul Auster is one of my favorite authors. I read New York Trilogy years ago (it was actually the second Auster-book I read after being caught into his style and "universe" by reading Moon Palace) and it has stayed with me since. Right now I am reading another Auster, Oracle Night, which is also pretty good. Not the best, but its good.


  5. Hi Michelle.
    Just found your blog via Louise´s.
    Great review of Auster´s trilogy. As I love crime fiction, I prefered the first book. I have even used the first chapter as an exam text for my students last year, and it worked so well, filled with great symbols as it is. I am quite sure I have not really understood the third book yet so I will probably have to read it again some day.

  6. This does sound like an interesting book, I'll have to add it to my list.

    (Came here for Wordless Wednesday, but this review also caught my attention. I am into things modern and urban)

  7. catsynth - Welcome! Do read anything by Paul Auster, I think he's a genius.

    Dorte H - I definately think most of Auster's novels need a second reading to be fully appreciated.

    Louise - I haven't yet read Moon Palace, but would like to.

    Scrap girl - I think I've recommended Paul Auster to every single person I know!

    Becca - I've heard of that series. I think the market is so over-saturated with vampire YA at the moment that I think I'll avoid them just now but keep them in mind for later..

    Emmie - GASP! Never too busy to read! :)


HI! Thank you for leaving a comment, you've just become my new best friend :)