City of GlassGhostsThe Locked Room Epub ☆

The remarkable acclaimed series of interconnected detective novels – from the author of 4 3 2 1 A NovelThe New York Review of Books has called Paul Auster’s work “one of the most distinctive niches in contemporary literature” Moving at the breathless pace of a thriller this uniquely stylized triology of detective novels begins with City of Glass in which Quinn a mystery writer receives an ominous phone call in the middle of the night He’s drawn into the streets of New York onto an elusive case that’s puzzling and deeply layered than anything he might have written himself In Ghosts Blue a mentee of Brown is hired by White to spy on Black from a window on Orange Street Once Blue starts stalking Black he finds his subject on a similar mission as well In The Locked Room Fanshawe has disappeared leaving behind his wife and baby and nothing but a cache of novels plays and poemsThis Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition includes an introduction from author and professor Luc Sante as well as a pulp novel inspired cover from Art Spiegelman Pulitzer Prize winning graphic artist of Maus and In the Shadow of No Towers


10 thoughts on “City of GlassGhostsThe Locked Room

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    First a brief harangue I can't help but noticing how often the word pretentious has been thrown around in the reviews for this book What a bothersome word pretentious It's a lot like the word boring in that they both seem to fool the user into thinking that they mean something objective when in fact they're highly subjective Nothing is inherently boring just as nothing is inherently pretentious On the contrary these words say a lot about the speaker than they do about the thing they're supposedly describingWhat does it mean then when someone calls a book pretentious? Let's dissect it What they really seem to be saying is this I didn't find meaning in this book therefore anyone who claims to have found meaning is not telling the truth And this boils down to the following syllogism I am an intelligent reader therefore anyone who is also an intelligent reader will share my opinion of this book anyone who doesn't share my opinion therefore isn't an intelligent reader A valid inference no doubt but hardly sound This is because the whole argument hinges on one unavoidable fact that by using the word pretentious one is implicitly assuming that they themselves are intelligent And everyone knows that only dumb people think they're smartSo hate on Paul Auster all you want Say that you found his plots predictable say that you found his characters unsympathetic say whatever the fuck you want But don't call his writing—or his fans—pretentious Because that's just being lazy And beyond that it only makes you sound pretentiousCity of Glass Speaking of coincidences I have this loose policy that whenever I'm reading a book of fiction I also read something non fiction and in this particular instance City of Glass was counterbalanced by David Hofstadter’s Gödel Escher BachNow it is not my aim to create a sort of synchronicity between any two books I have on the go at any certain time In this case my non fiction choice was based solely on the fact that the book was immediately availableAnd yet I was surprised by a number of similarities that arose between the two First both books explicitly mention the Tower of Babel in fact if you have a copy of the Penguin Deluxe Classics edition of the trilogy they both even display artistic renderings of it Both books also focus extensively on language—in particular its relation to reality But perhaps most importantly both explore the notion of systems mathematical artistic etc as well as what it means to operate outside of said systemFor Hofstadter this means the ability to interpret a system in a way that isn't explicitly contained within that system which is a crucial tool for any mathematician or specifically any meta mathematician And it's a crucial tool for Paul Auster the writer too In City of Glass he creates a strange loop Hofstadter's term between the world captured by the narrative and the one inhabited by the reader with no clear line between them the boundaries between what's real and what's fiction are masterfully blurredReading the novel you almost begin to suspect that you were meant to be a character that Auster probably viewed our world as identical or at least isomorphic to the one inhabited by Quinn Stillman et al And if that's not cool enough by the end of the novel Auster turns the tables again and you finish feeling like every symbol of the story has to be reinterpreted like the entire piece has undergone a semantic shiftBrainy deep fun and highly recommendedGhosts Reviewing these stories without spoiling them is kind of like trying to defuse a bomb one with a lot of colourful and potentially unnecessary trip wires So in order to minimize the risk I'm going to refrain from talking about any of the specifics of Ghosts and instead focus on my general impressions of the novelHere we are I think it might be even better than City of Glass No wait that can't be right Because City of Glass was pretty fucking amazing Really I don't know I was blown away by both Indeed it's true that harboured the fear from the opening few pages that the second installment of Auster's trilogy would be perhaps a little too cutesy with the colour names and all Blue a student of Brown has been hired by White to spy on Black But I should have by then been aware that Paul Auster does everything for a reason Or perhaps specifically when he does something for no reason it's always for a good reasonAnyways what I'm excited for now is finding out whether or not The Locked Room keeps up the trendThe Locked Room ???I forget exactly where but I believe it's in one of his letters that Plato writes your best ideas you don't write down or something to that effect What he means I believe is that truth has a tendency to avoid complete linguistic formalization that it avoids ever being captured This concept—or a similar one—was at the core of City of Glass But with The Locked Room Auster seems to be actually writing it as opposed to just writing about itThis is because it's easy to see how things like the character of Fanshawe his assorted sub textual works the locked room etc all map onto aspects of the novel itself And on a general level this serves to comment on our notions of self hood language and perceptions of reality In this way The New York Trilogy is a philosophy book disguised as a piece of literature And yet that's not entirely accurate because it's hard—if not impossible—to imagine how it's contents could be conveyed in any other form than they are hereAs Auster himself admits the story found in The Locked Room is merely a facet of a larger one one that permeates the entire trilogy With City of Glass we were taken to the limits of language The Locked Room performs a similar feat—less obviously but perhaps significantly Auster gives us facts and he gives us names And from these pieces we construct entire characters Fanshawe the unnamed narrator even a Peter Stillman But what does this mean? Who is Fanshawe? We are made aware for instance of a stark disjunction between pre and post disappearance Fanshawe But with what authority can these two men be said to be the same person? And is anyone ever really just one person?Whenever you read a novel—although perhaps this one so than most—you are engaged in a gathering and compiling facts You are for all intents and purposes a detective picking up clues discarding others as irrelevant And from these you ultimately construct a cohesive narrative a story If you disagree with this sentiment just think to the Peter Stillman who appears near the end of the novel Who can help but wonder whether or not this is in fact the same Peter Stillman as was contained within the pages of City of Glass? For we as readers cannot help but straying from the text escaping from its finite world We draw connections create links Never is the text a self contained entity EverAnd Auster it appears has a keen understanding of this So the question he seems to be asking is what is the relationship between fact and fiction? Between name and thing? And when you finish the novel both The Locked Room and the trilogy as a whole you come to realize that it the book is forcing you to ask the very same thing of itself