Daniel Roy's Reviews > The New York Trilogy

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
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's review
Feb 08, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: classic, thriller

The three novels that comprise The New York Trilogy amount to a staggering work of meta-fiction that far exceeds the sum of its parts, one which rides on the back of the detective novel into parts previously out of reach to genre fiction. Believe the hype: Auster's magnum opus deserves to be called a masterpiece.

This may surprise you if you only read the first novel, City of Glass. The first novel in the trilogy offers glimpses of stellar prose, but the story meanders before veering off into a wall. The second story, Ghosts, is a definite improvement, but like its predecessor it also, somehow, ends up lost somewhere along the plot, despite flashes of brilliance and some thought-provoking meditations on the act of writing. The pace is steady and the novels read quick, despite some enjoyable philosophical density in parts. All in all, the first two novels were fast-paced, pleasant and thought-provoking reads, but fell short of brilliance.

As The Locked Room begins to wind up, however, one is suddenly struck by the staggering depths of Auster's brilliance. Although the three novels stand on their own as individual works, together they form a surprising overarching narrative on the themes of writing, identity, obsession, and madness. To reveal exactly how Auster does this would tarnish its brilliance; suffice to say, you should read the trilogy through before judging each individual work.

The New York Trilogy starts along the rigid lines of a detective novel, and as it progresses, it seems to abandon its tropes one by one. But as the trilogy nears its end, Auster holds up a dark mirror to the genre itself, transforming it utterly and revealing not a clever solution, but a dark, stirring enigma, coiled inside all three novels, and hidden in plain sight all along.

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Reading Progress

February 8, 2012 – Shelved
February 19, 2012 – Started Reading
February 20, 2012 –
February 21, 2012 –
February 22, 2012 –
February 23, 2012 –
43.0% "Done with "City of Glass". Hmm. Enjoyable and interesting."
February 25, 2012 –
63.0% ""Ghosts" was excellent, much better than "City of Glass". Unto the third and last story."
February 27, 2012 –
February 28, 2012 –
February 28, 2012 – Shelved as: classic
February 28, 2012 – Shelved as: thriller
February 28, 2012 – Finished Reading

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