The New York Trilogy – Paul Auster


Writing any kind of review or opinion about a novel by Auster, is daunting. Where should I even begin? Auster is genius and I am but an amateur reader. Having just read “How to read literature like a professor“, I read purposefully and slowly, which only helped my experience of “The New York Trilogy“.

The New York Trilogy” consists of the stories “City of Glass”, “Ghosts”, and “Locked Room“, which are all in some way centered around New York City in a way where the city becomes a character in itself. The city is a maze that has its own order, a small neighbourhood, or a place to disappear – all aspects of the city that I can recognize. Using New York gives the novel a geographical familiarity that Toledo, San Diego, or Memphis would not have supplied.

One of the central themes in “The New York Trilogy” is identity. One character denounces his real name, writes under a pen name, feels more in sync with his fictional character, and finally pretends to be someone else entirely. In “Ghosts” the characters with surnames like White, Blue, and Black, blend together until I questioned the main character’s sanity. In “Locked Room“, a character wishes to escape existence, leaving his name behind. Even the identity of the three stories is in question. Although they are seperate in time and plot, characters pop up in other stories than their own, for example the private investigator Paul Auster.

Identity is a theme that really transcends the page. We all have different identities in our lives, based on the many diverse roles we play, but even more so the various facets of our personalities. Our point of view and everybody else’s view of us heavily depends on the identity we (choose to) wear. I have tried to touch upon this theme myself in a short story called “Sommerhuset” (translated from Danish The Summer House). The short story is available at

There is much to read, savor, and analyze in “The New York Trilogy“, but the theme of identity is the main theme that hit the note with me.

If I browse the internet and read just a couple of reviews, I am sure I will learn even more about this complex novel, but this is one of those rare gems which I choose to keep my own opinion – untainted by others – at least until the next time I read “The New York Trilogy“.

The New York Trilogy” is recommendable to literati or reader who dares to read a complex, engaging, and rewarding novel.

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