Shek's Reviews > The New York Trilogy

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
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's review
Nov 10, 2008

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For me, this was a problematic book, fraught with numerous problemats. For one thing I have a grievance with any book that expects the reader to slog halfway through it before any rewarding aspects begin to surface. I sympathize entirely with anyone who quits before getting to that point, since I very nearly did exactly that.

Also, I kept hearing that part I, "City of Glass", was the high point, and that afterward it went downhill. When I was halfway through
"Ghosts" (part II) I would have completely agreed with that sentiment, since I thought "City of Glass" was kind of a drag with some highlights, and "Ghosts" initially did everything in its power to make me want to set the book on fire and drop it into a chasm.

But whoever was saying that either did quit halfway through, or is just plain wrong. The Trilogy improves so dramatically in part III that it might as well be a different book, even as [SPOILER?:] it's built on the ruins of the first two parts and arguably linked to them indelibly.

However, I honestly don't think Auster needed to write it that way, and while you can argue that the third part's power is cumulative, that you've got to pound through the first two wondering whether you were being mind-fucked or just pointlessly bored in order to win the prize at the end, I absolutely do not agree. After all that I do believe Auster is a great writer, but he needs to cut out this cutesy-poo monkeyfart "meta" crap and just make a damn story.
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