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I don't blindly scatter 5 star reviews around, but this audiobook gets top marks. I'd heard people talk about this book for years, but never read it. Not everyone was complimentary, but even the detractors conceded that it had a certain elusive narrative quality that set it apart.
I finally bought the audiobook about 18 months ago, and have just listened again to the whole thing, for the 3rd time now.
Art, including literature, and including audiobooks, is totally subjective -- it barely needs saying. So there is no criticism or sneering from me towards anyone who doesn't enjoy this audiobook, and/or this story. But I must say that for me, an audiobook fan, New York Trilogy is the best. The narrative, weaving through reality and delusion, is both thrilling and disturbing, and so evocative of hidden corners of our our own lives. The clincher though is the magnificent narration. I say without hesitation that the world-weary tones of Joe Barrett turns from a very good book into a magnificent audiobook.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
REVIEW 1: City of Glass
An interesting PoMo novella. Auster's first novel/second book/first of his 'New York Trilogy', 'City of Glass' is simultaneously a detective novel, an exploration of the author/narrative dynamic, and a treatise on language. I liked parts, loved parts, and finished the book thinking the author had written something perhaps more interesting than important.
My favorite parts were the chapters where Auster (actual author Auster) through the narrator Quinn acting as the detective Auster explored Stillman's book: 'The Garden and the Tower: Early Visions of the New World'. I also enjoyed the chapter where Auster (character Auster) and Quinn (acting as detective Auster) explored Auster's (character Auster) Don Quixote ideas. Those chapters reminded me obliquely (everything in City of Glass is oblique) of Gaddis.
In the end, however, it all seemed like Auster had read Gaddis wanted to write a PoMo novel to reflect the confusing nature of the author/narrator/translator/editor role(s) of 'Don Quixote', set it all in Manhatten, and wanted to make the prose and story fit within the general framework of a detective novel. He pulled it off and it all kinda worked. I'll say more once I finish the next two of the 'New York Trilogy'.
REVIEW 2: Ghosts
An uncanny valley of Gaddis IMHO. 'Ghosts', the second book in Auster's 'New York Trilogy' reminds me what I both like and don't like about MFA writers. Often clever and grammatically precise but they don't say so much. If they were painters their perspective would be perfect and their posters would sell, but the pigment or texture or something between the edges is just missing that undercurrent of something to give a real shit about.
REVIEW 3: The Locked Room
Not much to add that I haven't already written in my reviews of Auster's first two 'New York Trilogy' novels. In 'The Locked Room' Auster dances with the same themes, with slightly different variations. The novellas are more brothers to each other instead of cousins. In a lot of ways he reminds me of an earlier generations' Dave Eggers. There is definitely a lot of talent latent in the guy. He certainly can write, but unlike Fitzgerald who was able to tell a similar themed story in his novels and still provide weight. I just didn't feel the gravity. It was like Camus couldn't really decide whether to kill the Arab, didn't know if he cared or not, so he just walked around killed himself but made the Arab watch.
I don't know. That may not be right. I'll probably just delete this review anyway. Only Otis will read it and I've asked him to delete all my reviews he doesn't like anyway. How do I guarantee this? Well, I could talk about Otis. I could tell you that there are things about author Auster, unrelated to his books I just don't like (who lives in NY Anyway?). He is a bad behaving author (untrue). He keeps sending me his manuscripts and wants me to say nice things about his work (untrue). I don't know. Is Auster married? Maybe, I'll go and console his wife now.
21 of 24 people found this review helpful
I found the stories in this trilogy to be muddled hodgepodges of different genres, all pushed together to 'explore' the character' (or author's) angsty need to find themselves. I know this is supposed to be a literary classic, and possible the allusions just went over my head, but I found it boring and could not care about any of the characters, all of whom seemed self-obsessed, whiny, and slightly unhinged. The reader was okay, although I got worried during the long passage where Peter Stillman has a monologue, as it was delivered in a really strange voice. This did seem to fit with the description of the voice though, so I suppose he was just trying to do the text justice.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful
If I'm honest, Joe Barret's is a safe pair of hands, and his reliable narrative carries this novel. Paul Auster's use of language is sound, and most of the plotting is acceptable, even a little clever in places, but the overall novel itself falls an awful long way short of living up to those aspects.
I would expect the three short stories involved to cleverly intertwine, the actions in one causing unexpected effects in the others. They don't do this to any significant degree, if at all They stand alone, and none are particularly engaging. But the worse thing is the pace. It seems to have been drawn out, sometimes a little painfully, to fit into the page count. I was waiting for it to end, and never really felt it did. It just sort of stopped.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful