Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 141: City of Glass (New York Trilogy #1) by Paul Auster

by | May 17, 2024 | 2024 Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Paul Auster, Wisdom From Kammbia Column, Wisdom From Kammbia Novella Review | 0 comments

I found out last week that celebrated author Paul Auster passed away at the age of 77. In my previous blog post, I expressed my appreciation for his stories and paid my respects. As a result, I wanted to reread his most famous body of work, The New York Trilogy, in honor of his passing.

City of Glass is the first book of the trilogy and tells the story of a detective-fiction writer, Daniel Quinn, who ends up becoming a private investigator on a case where a rich, paranoid father is keeping tabs on his son. Quinn is hired by the son’s wife to protect him from his father.  The case takes a unique turn, with Quinn becoming more of the focus rather than the person he was supposed to investigate.

Auster skillfully explores themes of identity and reality by intertwining random events into the story, referencing Don Quixote, the Tower of Babel story from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament, and even inserting himself as a character.

City of Glass had a circular narrative structure that could confuse and frustrate someone reading it for the first time. However, after reading it again three decades later, I could better understand and appreciate the element of chance and the unexpected events that can occur in all our lives.

Auster’s first book in the trilogy establishes the groundwork for his examination of identity by utilizing detective fiction as a mirror on our own selves.


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