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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A twentieth century classic
The NewYork Trilogy is that rare thing, a book that will continue to haunt you long after you put it down. Though the three stories it contains are structured and inspired by thriller novels, the work is essentially a meditation on the art of writing. It draws a parallel between a private investigator having to watch the person he has been hired to spy on and a writer...
Published on 19 Jun 1999

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read
Paul Auster's trilogy appears on many must read lists. I found parts of it a very tough read. The second part of the Trilogy, Ghosts, is particularly tricky as Blue, employed by White, is investigating Black. This is post modern detective fiction, if you know what that means and you want a challenge, give it a try.
Published 13 months ago by Phill


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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A twentieth century classic, 19 Jun 1999
By A Customer
The NewYork Trilogy is that rare thing, a book that will continue to haunt you long after you put it down. Though the three stories it contains are structured and inspired by thriller novels, the work is essentially a meditation on the art of writing. It draws a parallel between a private investigator having to watch the person he has been hired to spy on and a writer attempting to create and capture a life on the page. All the central characters in the three stories hit a black wall at some point, where they feel unable to penetrate through to the subject under their observation. Auster captures this limitation of writing beautifully. This is a gripping, dark and completely original piece of work. Certainly a twentieth century classic. I shudder to think that I was nearly going to pass it over.
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54 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars modern Man's search for identity - or a joke on the reader?, 9 Sep 2005
By 
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
NY Trilogy is certainly an entertaining and perplexing work of fiction, each story a variation on the theme of identity (lost and found), rootlessness, insecurity, what makes us human and individual , and other heavy themes.

However in this bleak, urban look at the impersonality of modern society, Auster is also having fun playing games with us, demonstrating (his) the writer's ability to create fictional characters - exploring how much of the characters are invention and how much autobiographical. Even the narrator - is that the writer's voice or an imposter? We, the readers, become the detective, encountering a trail of red herrings, unreliable witnesses and dead ends to try to discover the motives of author, narrator and characters. Can we find out the truth? Is that the message?

Each is a puzzling case, inter-related by characters who turn up repeatedly (including Auster himself - described in the third person). You're never sure whether it is the same person each time or another invention by the author. Confused? That's part of the charm of the book - I'm not sure there is a tidy solution - it is certainly an unsettling experience as the narrator in each case seems to be unreliable and more than a bit unstable, but it gets your brain working and that's got to be a good thing.

I enjoyed it - i don't really know why. I can't even decide whether it's well written. Certainly it's funny at times (in a nervous twitchy way) and if you're the sort who enjoys this sort of multi-layered mind game I can whole-heartedly recommend two English alternatives - Charles Palliser's "Unburied" or James Lasdun's "The Horned Man"
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, tricky stuff, 16 April 2000
By A Customer
I read this several months ago and am still thinking about it. It's a book for anyone who has ever wanted to write, or who loves reading novels that don't have answers. Auster doesn't lead us by the hand to the answers; he throws us in a dark room and leaves us to figure it out ourselves. As he says, it isn't the outcome of the story that counts but the telling of the story itself (ok Paul, whatever). That said, it isn't indulgent and is as accessible a book as something this experiemental can be. One to read if you want to open your mind and challenge your brain. Not an easy read but a beautiful, interesting, haunting one that gets under your skin and stays there.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have to read this book, 5 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This book had been on my 'to read' list for years before I finally got round to reading it last year. I was totally blown away. Although I have friends who found it too hard going to enjoy it, in my opinion this is one of the great novels of the twentieth century and sets Auster up as the finest writer alive. I have since devoured everything he has written and have never been disappointed. When you close an Auster novel you only wish that the person sitting next to you has read it too so you can discuss - like when you watch a film like Mulholland Drive. You will think about it for days.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique!, 12 Feb 2007
By 
Heather "star_reader" (Leeds, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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... Im beginning to feel like im over- using the word unique but in this case i really dont know how else to descibe this book as it so unlike anything i have read before. I was introduced to it on a university module called 'Contempoary American Fiction' and as soon as i started reading it, there was something about it that compelled me to keep reading.

The book is made up of three stories, of which i found the first and the third to be the most enjoyable and engaging. As you read the stories however, it becomes apparent how the three interconnect with the overlapping of names and identities in each story. This was both exicting and confusing and i found myself making notes as i went along to try and keep up!

The book raises some really interesting questions about identity and writing and Auster is definitely a writer i will look forward to reading again in the future.

A challenging but really worthwhile read, you wont be disappointed when you finish it so give it a go...
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45 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most Rewarding three books you'll ever read..., 20 July 2000
The New York Trilogy is undeniably the most bizarre book i've ever read; billed as something along the lines of classic american crime writing with a post-modern twist, the three stories in the trilogy are not only gripping, they'll stay in your head for sometime after you've read them
City of GLass is typical of the three stories; it takes a regular detective with the job of trailing someobody for a client - Auster expertly conveys the obsession assosciated with such a case, and his character Quinn, soon loses all human characteristics...
While this and the locked room are both wonderful reads, the gem in the trilogy is the considerably shorter, Ghosts. Written in such a taut crisp style, this short story is often confusing, but never overwhelming.
Auster has taken the genre by its nether regions and delivered a keen and intelligent analysis of it. After reading the trilogy you can't help but feel more intelligent and content. THese are truly miraculous writings.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling and puzzlingly addictive..., 23 April 2009
The New York trilogy consists of three separate but sparsely connected stories. Maybe they are connected by the writer himself, maybe they are connected by someone called Paul Auster but then maybe he is not the writer. Who knows?

Well, Paul Auster surely knows because these stories skilfully probe the edges of the places where identity and character meet and sometimes merge and they are elegantly written. Paul Auster's style is lucid and crystalline and, where his stories become both clever and stylish, he avoids the trap which engulfs so many European writers: he never comes across as an intellectual smart arse or show off. His intellectual insights are genuine. They are measured and never flashy and, that in part, is also one of the reasons why I found it difficult to understand why I became both addicted to reading this book and equally puzzled as to why I felt compelled to finish it.

Maybe it is something to with the absorbing cool prose and the sense of Paul Auster's detachment from his own narrative that continues to puzzle. Maybe it is simply difficult to engage with disengagement. Who knows? Maybe I need to read it again in search of that fifth star.The book certainly warrants it. Maybe, but only long after I have finished savouring my first reading of these introspective mysteries.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A difficult read, 7 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The New York Trilogy: "City of Glass", "Ghosts" and "Locked Room" (Kindle Edition)
Paul Auster's trilogy appears on many must read lists. I found parts of it a very tough read. The second part of the Trilogy, Ghosts, is particularly tricky as Blue, employed by White, is investigating Black. This is post modern detective fiction, if you know what that means and you want a challenge, give it a try.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is it innovative or is it pretentious?, 14 Feb 2012
By 
R. A. Davison (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The New York Trilogy (Paperback)
The New York Trilogy isn't a trilogy in the sense that Steig Larsson's Millenium Trilogy is a trilogy or The Lord Of Rings is a trilogy, it's three extended short stories 'City Of Glass', 'Ghosts' and 'The Locked Room'. It's another example of metafiction, which I wasn't expecting, I can't remember who recommended it to me in the first instance or what they said about it. Whilst the use of metafiction is totally unintrusive in 'The Things They Carried', you knew it was there but it didn't effect the story, it is so intrusive in 'The New York Trilogy' that I think it probably counts as an example of 'breaking the fourth wall' or if it doesn't quite technically fit the criteria, it comes very close.

I hate it when authors break the fourth wall, I like to become immersed in the story, the characters, and pretend at least for the duration I read it that I am a visitor to the world about which I am reading. I don't like the authors wagging finger appearing in my face and saying 'this isn't REAL you know, it's just a STORY'. I know that already, I know the difference between fiction and non fiction.

I think one of the central discussion points of the trilogy is on the nature of authorship, and whether the story is more important than its author and the author is essentially irrelevant. In 'City Of Glass' Daniel Quinn is a formerly successful poet who following terrible tragedy now writes mystery stories, churning out one a year under the pseudonym 'William Wilson'. He receives a phonecall in the dead of night looking for a private detective named Paul Auster whom he then impersonates. Essentially all Auster has done here is use his own name as a character name but the effect is nonetheless jarring. A separate character who coincidentally also shares the name Paul Auster appears later on. I didn't like it. In the last story 'The Locked Room' the question of authorship arises again. A man publishes the work of his missing, presumed dead, friend and is asked whether he would consider writing a few more novels under his friends name, the public being none the wiser. I wondered briefly if Paul Auster wasn't a real person and that was part of the point but it seems that he is.

'The Locked Room' is actually quite a good story, but in it he re-uses several character names from 'City Of Glass' including, at one point, Paul Auster, and I just found this approach really very irritating. The characters in The Locked Room are not the ones from City Of Glass either they just have the same names. I think he's trying to make another point with this and that is that the names don't matter only the story. In Ghosts, Auster replaces every character name with a colour, which sounds like a small thing but actually makes it quite hard to read.

I wonder if a lot of reviews at the time praised Auster for playing with formats and BREAKING NEW GROUND, but I found something quite arrogant about it, a tone which suggests he thinks he's a better and more innovative writer than he actually is. The sense that he's writing for the critics, and the literary world at large. The first two stories are genuinely confusing, and I didn't really "take away" much from the book having finished it. I felt quite "so what?" about it.

In the first story Quinn meets a young woman reading one of his mystery novels, when she tells him she's finding it average without knowing he's the author, he leaves, because he is afraid he might punch her in the face. I kind of had the same feeling towards Auster throughout. A disappointment 5/10
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A flawed minorpiece, 26 July 2012
By 
Alan Stockbridge (Tuebingen, Germany) - See all my reviews
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A wonderful triptych of stories: playful, entertaining and human. Unfortunately, Paul Auster makes the mistake common to many New York artists, that of parochialism. Long lists of street names that mean very little to anyone who hasn't spent time in New York (that being the majority of the world's population - probably even the majority of the world's english-speaking population). Nevertheless, a truly enjoyable work for adolescents, regardless of their age. I've read it 3 times already and I'm only 57!
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