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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, February 2017 - Archibald Isaac Ferguson is the central character of 4 3 2 1. He's known as Archie by some and as Ferguson by others, and you get to know him from the time he is born through the multiple life outcomes explored by author Paul Auster. Through each nuanced version of his life, I became equally attached to every Archie and every Ferguson revealed to me. Living in and having grown up in Essex County, NJ, I know the towns and landmarks that Auster has set this novel in (my parents also brought me to the now-departed Grunnings Ice Cream parlor). So as I drive through these neighborhoods, I can imagine Archie walking down the street or playing baseball in a local school field. Listening to Paul Auster narrate is like having him in the seat next to me, with the open book on his lap as he calmly reads aloud. This is a book to be savored and allowed to unfold at its own beautiful pace. —Tricia, Audible Editor
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Publisher's Summary

This program is narrated by—and includes a bonus interview with—the author.
Paul Auster's greatest, most heartbreaking and satisfying novel—a sweeping and surprising story of birthright and possibility, of love and of life itself: a masterpiece.
Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson's life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, listeners will take in each Ferguson's pleasures and ache from each Ferguson's pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson's life rushes on.
As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that listeners have never heard from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.
©2017 Paul Auster (P)2017 Macmillan Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jax on 03-03-17

Too much detail.

Obviously Auster is a a very talented writer. He brought the protagonist to life and I liked the multiple pathways. But so often, he had long lists of items or things, e.g., "Ferguson didn't like to eat vegetables - he didn't like cabbage, he didn't like eggplants, onions, celery, green beans, red peppers, bok choy, snap peas, zucchini, or avocado." Also, included long play-by-plays of baseball games from 4 decades ago. And then in the middle, a short story about shoes? Some editing would have been helpful.

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful


By Alec Drumm on 05-03-17

Dreadful and dreary

For some reason I listened to this book all the way to the end, although I pretty much hated it. The character Ferguson is so unappealing and his adventures so ordinary and uninteresting that I barely made it through. I could not figure out what the point of the book was. Was it autobiographical? That is not clear. (spoiler) Why did 3 Fergusons have to die unnatural deaths?

The neverending love affairs of the different Fergusons also are entirely pointless. Why go through the trouble of describing all the different women's names and backgrounds if they disappear from the story one page later? It feels like filler material. And the homosexual activities of one of the Fergusons were just unbelievable, since they were so different from the other Fergusons.

Perhaps Ferguson was so unappealing because he is in every story highly self-absorbed. There is no indication that he cared about his friends and family or even has any emotions at all. His big love interest Amy disappears from his life in all 4 versions, because Ferguson can't be bothered to put any effort into the relationship.

The author read the novel himself on Audible, which is admirable, but he is just not a very good reader. I kept thinking that a more energetic performer would have made a big difference.

Unfortunately, I will not be reading any other Paul Auster books after this experience.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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