Rauf's Reviews > City of Glass

City of Glass by Paul Auster
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Jun 02, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: 2010-list, fiction, fromthepit, trilogy, literature
Recommended for: Fans of Don Quixote ?
Read from May 27 to 29, 2010 , read count: 1

Not a real review. Just some random selection from my notes. Hope I can clarify some things for myself 'cause the book stymied me. Stymied, I says!
May contain spoilers. Probably. I have no idea, man. Just to be safe, though, I don't think anyone oughta be reading this.

1. Our main character, Daniel Quinn, wrote a series of detective novels using the moniker William Wilson. The detective's name was Max Work. When Quinn went to see Peter Stillman, he said his name was Paul Auster.
(Just a vessel for faux people. Like Peter Sellers.)
For your consideration (all from chapter 1, so not spoilers):
"Quinn was no longer that part of him that could write books, and although in many ways Quinn continued to exist, he no longer existed for anyone but himself."
"William Wilson, after all, was an invention, and even though he had been born within Quinn himself, he now led an independent life."
"He (Quinn) had, of course, long ago stopped thinking of himself as real. If he lived now in the world at all, it was only at one remove, through the imaginary person of Max Work. His detective necessarily had to be real. The nature of the books demanded it."
(Ergo... Daniel Quinn is Paul Auster?
Don't quote me on that.)

2. "In effect, the writer, and the detective are interchangeable."

3. "The world of the book comes to life, seething with possibilities, with secrets and contradictions."
(Translation: migraine migraine migraine migraine)

4. A quote from Baudelaire from the book: "Il me semble que je serais toujours bien là où je ne suis pas."
Auster translated this into: "it seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not."
Another translation: "wherever I am not, is the place where I am myself."
(Ergo...Daniel Quinn is Paul Auster is Paul Auster?
You can see how I suck at this game.
Another phrase for sucking at something is flashing sideways)

5. From Chapter 10. Daniel Quinn talked with Paul Auster (the character, not the author...although he is a li'l bit of both. At the same time! Geeenius.) about Don Quixote.
Auster: "...Cervantes, if you remember, goes to great lengths to convince the reader that he is not the author. The book, he says, was written in Arabic by Cid Hamete Benengeli. Cervantes describes how he discovered the manuscript by chance one day in the market at Toledo..."

(Can we change "Cervantes" with "Paul Auster" and "Cid Hamete" with "Paul Auster"? Wait wait. Am I getting the order wrong?
Or "Cervantes" to "Quinn", "Cid Hamete" to "William Wilson"?)

Quinn: "And yet he goes on to say that Cid Hamete Benengeli's is the only true version of Don Quixote's story. All the other versions are frauds, written by imposters. He makes a great point of insisting that everything in the book really happened in the world."
Quinn: "...In some sense, Don Quixote was just a stand-in for himself (Cervantes)."
Auster: "What better portrait of a writer than to show a man who has been bewitched by books?"

(and yet he goes on to say that William Wilson's version is the only true version of Daniel Quinn's stoy.
In some sense, Daniel Quinn was just a stand-in for William Wilson? Or Paul Auster? No. 2, writer and detective is interchangeable...
Rauf is flashing sideways and he's flashing hard)

Auster again: "...But Cid Hamete, the acknowledged author, never makes an appearance....The theory I present in the essay is that he is actually a combination of four different people...."
Auster again: "....The idea was to hold a mirror up to Don Quixote's madness, to record each of his absurd and ludicrous delusions, so that when he finally read the book himself, he would see the error of his ways."

(But William Wilson, the acknowledged author never makes an appearance...is actually a combination of 4 people?
To record each of Quinn's absurd and ludicrous delusions, etc.)

Auster again: "...Don Quixote, in my view, was not really mad. He only pretended to be. In fact, he orchestrated the whole thing himself. Remember: throughout the book Don Quixote is preoccupied by the question of posterity. Again and again he wonders how accurately his chronicler will record his adventures."

(Quinn was not really mad...he orchestrated the whole thing himself. Major hint or major misinterpretation???)

FFWD again --
Auster's theory: "Cervantes hiring Don Quixote to decipher the story of Don Quixote."

(Auster using Quinn to decipher the story of Quinn?? That's a good idea for a sitcom.)

Quinn: "But you still haven't explained why a man like Don Quixote would disrupt his tranquil life to engage in such an elaborate hoax."
Auster: "That's the most interesting part of all. In my opinion, Don Quixote was conducting an experiment. He wanted to test the gullibility of his fellow men. Would it be possible, he wondered, to stand up before the world and with the utmost conviction spew out lies and nonsense? To say that windmills were knights, that a barber's basin was a helmet, that puppets were real people? Would it be possible to persuade others to agree with what he said, even though they did not believe him?
In other words, to what extent would people tolerate blasphemies if they gave them amusement?
The answer is obvious, isn't it?"

(Quinn wants to test the gullibility of men -- would it be possible to persuade others to agree with what he said, even though they did not believe him?)

I'm sure no one read this far. Now I can confess something embarassing. My favorite Godfather film is the third one!!! Phewf. Glad I got that out of my chest...

6. Another character, Peter Stillman, Sr. really believed in this theory:
"If the fall of man also entailed a fall of language, was it not logical to assume that it would be possible to undo the fall, to reverse its effects by undoing the fall of language, by striving to recreate the language that was spoken in Eden?
If man could learn to speak this original language of innocence, did it not follow that he would thereby recover a state of innocence within himself?"
IMPORTANT for the ending.

Number 7 is definitely a major spoiler. Unless I got it wrong. Then it's just a weird cherry on top of this weird sundae. You've been warned...

7. After the long discussion about Quixote and Cervantes, Daniel Quinn met Daniel Auster, Paul's little boy. Daniel Auster would be the same age as Daniel Quinn's dead son -- DQ's wife and son died at the same time.
Then D.A. said: "Everybody's Daniel!"
Just some stupid thing a kid said or important to the story?
But looking back at my notes....I don't know. I'm still stymied.
Aren't I?

Quinn made it all up? No. Paul Auster made Quinn made it all up?? That's kinda M. Night Shyamalan-y.
In the end: Quinn kept writing and writing on his red notebook ("...something about it [the notebook:] seemed to call out to him -- as if its unique destiny in the world was to hold the words that came from his pen") and then he lost his Innocence...because he was no longer "in the dark."
Quinn suffered the Fall of Language. He wanted to write about "infinite kindnesses of the world and all the people he had ever loved. Nothing mattered now but the beauty of all this. He wanted to go on writing about it, and it pained him to know that this would not be possible."
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Reading Progress

05/26/2010 page 10
4.93% "finished chapter one. intriguing. very metafiction-y."
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

hehehe. baca versi novel grafisnya aja. ga terlalu migren: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

message 2: by Rauf (last edited Jun 02, 2010 02:16AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rauf Kalo ada anggota GRI udah merekomendasikan biasanya sih langsung ngasih pinjem...


Ceritanya mirip sama novelnya atau beda-beda dikit?

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

ga tau, belum baca novelnya. harusnya ya sama.
siap! kapan aja ketemu, dibawa

Rauf we'll be in touch.


message 5: by Hayes (new)

Hayes Lordie, How I disliked this story! The second was even worse for me. I never bothered with the last.

Rauf I quiet enjoyed it despite all the migraine. If there's a story then I'd probably give it another star.

message 7: by JSou (new)

JSou I voted for this because you used the word 'stymied'. Oh, and this:

Another phrase for sucking at something is flashing sideways

And I'm gonna tell everyone your favorite Godfather movie is the third one. : )

Rauf Oh nooo!! I'm gonna wake up with a horse's head next to me


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I love the book structure and art.All very constrained.Love the vertigo feeling of it.Good poetry in comics.A best.

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