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The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

The New York Trilogy (1987)

by Paul Auster

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The New York Trilogy (omnibus)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,010113515 (3.89)334
Recently added byprivate library, leselotte, alex-vf, baobab, LT_Ammar
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» See also 334 mentions

English (87)  Spanish (10)  Italian (5)  Dutch (4)  French (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
I might have liked this more if I hadn't gone into it thinking it was a crime novel... but probably not. I found this term on Wikipedia's entry for Auster's trilogy, metafiction or even metamystery. I had to look up what metafiction was:

"Metafiction is a literary device used to self-consciously and systematically draw attention to a work's status as an artifact. It poses questions about the relationship between fiction and reality, usually using irony and self-reflection."

While I have seen plays that use this sort of device (and liked them), I felt it was too self-concious in this book. The questions were being shoved in my face with little subtlety and there was no feeling of resolution (at least for me). I guess I'm just not a modern (or postmodern) kind of gal... ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 6, 2015 |
Three stories about the same thing. maybe about the same people. Maybe about different people who interconnected with the same people. Cleverly written but very confusing.
Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book.the main characters lacked moral fortitude and i could not like them maybe I could appreciate it more after a second reading but i think this style of writing is just not for me ( )
  TheWasp | May 5, 2015 |
Auster has earned his chops in the book biz, but his arguably postmodern style is not to my taste. I’m not really sure what postmodern means, but insofar as City of Glass defines it, it ain’t for me. Auster’s prose seems to be all higgledy-piggledy to me, if Auster is his real name, but I lost track of Quinn too many times, he was adrift in the story, adrift in New York, adrift in his mind, if Quinn was his real name, and I wanted more structure, and somewhat more elegant dialog, if dialog is the right word, because sometimes I wasn’t really sure that I was reading the book, I felt like I was scrambling to get out of the story, and my skin was crawling, if that’s the right word….
More on my blogs:
http://historybottomlines.blogspot.com/ ( )
  rsubber | Mar 11, 2015 |
Paul Auster is this (Brooklyn) borough’s poster-boy for story-telling – but I don’t get it.

The New York Trilogy is the work that first put him on the literary map. This is my third novel by Paul Auster (or, if you count each third of the Trilogy as a novel – which he apparently does – my fifth. And still, I don’t get it.

Auster’s prose is certainly competent – even compelling, as I discovered in the first two-thirds of “The Locked Room” – the third story in the Trilogy – but for my money at least, his story-telling leaves a lot to be desired.

To quote from that same “Locked Room”: “(t)he entire story comes down to what happened at the end, and without that end inside me now, I could not have started this book. The same holds for the two books that come before it, “City of Glass” and “Ghosts.” These three stories are finally the same story, but each one represents a different stage in my awareness of what it is about. I don’t claim to have solved any problems. I am merely suggesting that a moment came when it no longer frightened me to look at what had happened. If words followed, it was only because I had no choice but to accept them, to take them upon myself and go where they wanted me to go. But that does not necessarily make the words important. I have been struggling to say goodbye to something for a long time now, and this struggle is all that really matters. The story is not in the words; it’s in the struggle” (p. 346).

I beg to differ, but I think the story is in the words – if you’re a writer. We all struggle, Paul. But we don’t all claim to be writers.

I’ll conclude this review with one other citation, this one on p. 370: “I lost my way after the first word, and from then on I could only grope ahead, faltering in the darkness, blinded by the book that had been written for me.”

As a very good and close friend used to say to me decades ago whenever I’d raise some ridiculous ‘philosophical’ point: “That’s the kind of epistomo-ontologico-metaphysico question I don’t deal with.” I have to say the same thing after having just finished Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy.

Brooklyn, NY

( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
Looking at the reviews here on Goodreads it’s clear that Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy is a divisive book, and really that’s no surprise. Those who go into it expecting an actual trilogy of mystery stories will almost certainly be disappointed, as will those who want a book that reaches any form of resolution or delivers any concrete message. Instead the New York Trilogy will be loved by those willing to let the experience wash over them, and by those who enjoy noticing connections and themes repeated between the three works but who don’t mind the fact that these connections don’t really amount to anything in the end. It’s a book where the atmosphere is the main draw, and as the same atmosphere pervades all three stories you’re likely to either quite like this work or else very much despise it.

The atmosphere Auster creates is one of perpetual uncertainty, where many of the things we rely upon to make sense of life have eroded without much explanation. Identities are constantly shifting, with people adopting new names and patterns of behavior or else getting those names and actions forced upon them. Disguises are worn, or masks, and characters disappear suddenly or perhaps reappear down the road (or is it just someone with the same name? We’ve no way of knowing). Auster repeatedly explores the idea that names are inadequate means of identification, as names are mutable, and aren’t even unique to begin with. Furthermore identity isn’t something that exists inherently, as again and again characters find their identities subsumed by the identities of others. In addition to the shifting identities the actions of the many characters are also divorced from reality. Again and again we read as a character lets himself fall deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole, restraining himself from doing something he wants or forcing himself to do something he hates or doesn’t understand for no discernable reason. Men of means degenerate into crazy homeless people, throw away relationships, put their lives and livelihoods on the line because of forces or motivations they don’t discuss, or perhaps they themselves are ignorant of what’s pushing them. Men hire private detectives for reasons that make a kind of sense, but which nevertheless feels like it’s logic from another world. Finally each of the three stories ends, but doesn’t resolve. The characters fade away, or go on the run, or some threshold is crossed, but almost no answers or explanation is given, either to the reader or to the characters.

This lack of solution is sure to frustrate some readers, as these stories are couched in the world of dime-store mysteries, with private eyes tracking down suspects and investigating leads. Such stories typically end with some answer being reached, but such is not the case here. In a way, however, this has to be the way in which the stories end. You can’t explore the lack of identity if you let a character reaffirm their identity by solving a problem, you can’t discuss the meaninglessness and irrationality of life by revealing a logical reason for the events of the story occurring, you can’t present the idea that characters are creations subsumed and consumed by their stories if you give those characters a happily-ever-after ending, or even any type of ending. The final story explicitly references the other two stories, and it makes a claim that the stories are all the same story told in different ways, for the purpose of illustrating how characters can’t let go of the story they’re assigned to tell, but this eleventh-hour explanation doesn’t ring true. There is no resolution or message here, except for perhaps an extratextual one that you invent for yourself, and the ideas of identity and the nature of fiction presented aren’t likely things you’ve never thought of before, but that wasn’t enough to sink the book for me.

Does the above description sound appealing to you? If so then definitely pick this book up, as the other aspects of the book won’t give you reason to regret your decision. The stories are well written, and the feeling of New York City pseudo-noir is pulled off impressively well. Characters often feel very similar, but that’s part of the theme of the book after all. Overall because I was in the mood for something like this I enjoyed Auster’s New York Trilogy, despite the lack of resolution or fresh ideas, because the atmosphere was so masterfully done. If you’re on the fence give it a try, and if you’re not feeling it by the end of sixty or seventy pages (or certainly by the end of the first story) don’t feel bad about dropping it, since if you stuck with it you’d be exploring the same labyrinth passages for the rest of the book- although you might be walking on the maze’s ceiling the next time around instead of the floor.
( )
2 vote BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Una llamada telefónica equivocada introduce a un escritor de novelas policiacas en una extraña historia de complejas relaciones paternofiliales y locura; un detective sigue a un hombre por un claustrofóbico universo urbano; la misteriosa desaparición de un amigo de la infancia confronta a un hombre con sus recuerdos. Tres novelas que proponen una relectura posmoderna del género policiaco y que supusieron la revelación de uno de los más interesantes novelistas de nuestro tiempo.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

» Add other authors (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paul Austerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frank, Joachim A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jääskeläinen, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sante, LucIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sirola, JukkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spiegelman, ArtCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not.
"For our words no longer correspond to the world. When things were whole, we felt confident that our words could express them. But little by little these things have broken apart, shattered, collapsed into chaos. And yet our words have remained the same. They have not adapted themselves to the new reality. Hence, every time we try to speak of what we see, we speak falsely, distorting the very thing we are trying to represent."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039830, Paperback)

Paul Auster's signature work, The New York Trilogy, consists of three interlocking novels: City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room—haunting and mysterious tales that move at the breathless pace of a thriller.

City of Glass

As a result of a strange phone call in the middle of the night, Quinn, a writer of detective stories, becomes enmeshed in a case more puzzling than any he might hace written


Blue, a student of Brown, has been hired to spy on Black. From a window of a rented house on Orange street, Blue stalks his subject, who is staring out of his window

The Locked Room

Fanshawe has disappeared, leaving behind his wife and baby and a cache of novels, plays, and poems. What happened?

First time in Penguin Classics A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition with French flaps, rough front, and luxurious packaging Features an introduction from Luc Sante and incredible cover illustrations by Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic artist Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:07 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

City of glass: A writer of a detective stories becomes embroiled in a complex and puzzling series of events, beginning with a call from a stranger in the middle of the night asking for the author. Ghosts: Introduces Blue, a private detective hired to watch a man named Black, who, as he becomes intermeshed into a haunting and claustrophobic game of hide-and-seek is lured into the very trap he created. The locked room: The nameless hero journeys into the unknown as he attempts to reconstruct the past which he has experienced almost as a dream.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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