4 3 2 1

  • by Paul Auster
  • Narrated by Paul Auster
  • 37 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Audible Editor 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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This is my life--by and about Paul Auster

Full disclosure. I did not finish the book. I could not finish the book. A clever premise: same people different lives caused by different events. After that, a real yawn. The time period over which the stories take place--growing up in the 1950s in New Jersey and the upper west side of NY--is obviously autobiographical and generally pretty boring. Aunt so and so and uncle so and so and cousin so and so. One is a college professor, another an appliance store owner, and the protagonist is a kid called Archie who goes to camp, makes out with girls, listens to music, reads books--you get the picture; this is my life as a Jewish kid growing up in urban and suburban NY. To make matters worse, Auster has enough of an ego that he thinks he can read his own book to you and probably thinks he reads it well. It kind of like having your uncle Ben read you bedtime stories. I kept on waiting for something to happen and nothing really ever did. One thing I found really annoying is that Auster regularly showed off his knowledge of music and literature by having his characters tick off all the the great composers or poets. We get it Paul, you are very clever. Lots of hype about this book, but cannot understand why.
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- J. Shaw

Really loved this novel

What made the experience of listening to 4 3 2 1 the most enjoyable?

I really like the fact that it was read by the author, so that I was able to hear the cadence in which it was meant to be heard.


What other book might you compare 4 3 2 1 to and why?

I would compare this book to City on Fire and A Little Lie both of which I would really recommend.


What about Paul Auster’s performance did you like?

I actually loved the performance but I did speed it up to 1.25x which resulted in a slight octave raise to the narrators voice. This made it a little easier to relate to him being a young man. He also did not attempt to fein female voices.


Any additional comments?

If you are to purchase this novel, be ready for the long haul. I listened to this over a period of 3 days and couldn't put it down. This was my first Paul Auster book and I definitely don't think it will be my last.

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- Christopher

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-31-2017
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio