In three intricate, engaging and often perplexing stories Paul Auster comments on life in New York, life in the shadows, and life as a writer. His work often delves into metafiction, as his spiralling tales of spies, madness, and jealousy blur the line between the character and Auster himself. The Trilogy is comprised of short stories City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room, with each story referencing the others. City of Glass comments on the nature and production of social space, as the lead character Quinn slowly pulls his social space apart and becomes almost non-existent, returning to society at the close of the story, as society has moved on. Quinn gets caught up in a detective case that he shouldn’t be leading, with the story opening ‘It was a wrong number that started it, the telephone ringing three times in the dead of night, and the voice on the other end asking for someone he was not’, and becomes obsessive over solving the
case, until the distinction between himself, and the true detective no longer holds. Ghosts is a more measured story, about a man called White wanting Blue to follow a man named Black, and write down his every action. It suggests to the reader that one can either live, or write about living, as Blue slowly becomes his obsession; Black. The Locked Room, my favourite of the trilogy, follows an unnamed narrator as he is made responsible for his childhood best friend Fanshawe’s literary work. The unnamed narrator, as is the theme in the trilogy, becomes obsessive over adopting Fanshawe’s life. By tracing his story, adopting his son, and marrying his wife Auster suggests to us ‘in end, each life is irreducible to anything other than itself’. I would recommend The New York Trilogy to everyone, as it is crime fiction that strikes deeper than the narrative, questioning literature itself.