Gareth Lewis's Reviews > The New York Trilogy

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
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Dec 22, 11


My disappointment with the trilogy is neatly summed up by James Wood in an article he wrote for the New Yorker called 'The Novels of Paul Auster', so it's probably best to read that instead of anything I've written here. Most of the notes I made in the margins turn out to be shopping lists (boring ones - ‘two single duvet covers’ … ‘sulphur pillow cases from John Lewis’) or work related (smaller post-its? Larger post-its!). That said, a handful of passages with pencil rings around them are keepers. Of sorts. Towards the end of The Locked Room there’s an interesting bit about anecdotes. It concludes with this chilling, and true, story about the Danish explorer Peter Freuchen:

‘In a book I once read by Peter Freuchen,’ Fanshawe writes, ‘the famous Arctic explorer describes being trapped by a blizzard in northern Greenland. Alone, his supplies dwindling, he decided to build an igloo and wait out the storm. Many days passed. Afraid, above all, that he would be attacked by wolves - for he heard them prowling hungrily on the roof of his igloo - he would periodically step outside and sing at the top of his lungs in order to frighten them away. But the wind was blowing fiercely, and no matter how hard he sang, the only thing he could hear was the wind. If this was a serious problem, however, the problem of the igloo was much greater. For Freuchen began to notice that the walls of his little shelter were gradually closing in on him. Because of the particular weather conditions outside, his breath was literally freezing to the walls, and with each breath the walls became that much smaller, until eventually there was almost no room left for his body. It is surely a frightening thing, to imagine breathing yourself into a coffin of ice.’

- from The Locked Room, the third book in The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster.
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