Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 143: The Locked Room (New York Trilogy #3) by Paul Auster

by | May 22, 2024 | 2024 Book Reviews, Book Reviews, Marion's Favorite Books, Marion's Favorites, Marion's Reading Life Blog, Paul Auster, Wisdom From Kammbia Column, Wisdom From Kammbia Novella Review | 0 comments

Can you find your true self in living out your best friend’s wishes?

The narrator of The Locked Room, the last novel in Paul Auster’s innovative New York Trilogy, attempts to answer that question. A man named Fanshawe has gone missing, leaving his wife, child, and a body of written works behind. The missing man’s wife brings the narrator into the picture, as he is presumed dead. She wants the narrator to find a publisher for her husband’s novel. The narrator accepts his wife’s request, which ultimately leads him towards his own downfall.

The best novel of the trilogy explores themes of idolatry, hero worship, envy, and self-realization. The narrator’s behavior and decisions unsettled me, but Auster’s storytelling necessitated those choices for him to truly discover his identity.

The last novel skillfully connects hidden references to the first two novels, City of Glass and Ghosts, creating a cohesive and satisfying conclusion. Upon revisiting these stories, it becomes clear why they should be read as a whole. Only by reading them together can one truly appreciate Auster’s vision for the trilogy.

The Locked Room is an excellent coda to one of the unique literary works in modern American literary fiction. Expectations of a typical whodunit detective story will be met with disappointment by readers. However, readers desiring a work of fiction that employs the same format to delve into the exploration of identity from multiple angles will be pleasantly surprised. Well done. Rest in Love, Paul Auster.


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