The New York trilogy / Paul Auster ; introd. by Luc Sante. – New York : Penguin Books, 2006. – xi, 308 p. : ill. ; 22 cm (Penguin classics deluxe edition)
I. City of Glass
III. The Locked Room
Excerpt from the introduction by Luc Sante:
Auster’s characters peregrinate along this corridor as if it were a moving sidewalk, or like the dream subway devised by the cartoonist Ben Katchor, which stops in individual apartments. Quinn, in City of Glass, and Blue, in Ghosts, both stumble into it, to their enlightenment and discomfiture, and the unseen Fanshawe, in The Locked Room, has gone to live there – the question is whether any of them is able to emerge from it.
Auster’s characters know that you can practice a form of divination by reading the sidewalks, that capricious telphone calls can link people in ways that may seem random but end up sealing their fates, that you can pass through the streets completely unseen while making no special effort to disguise yourself or hide, that you can pass through your life in the city without leaving any more of a mark than if you had ever been born, that you probably have a double ou there somewhere among eight million whose life runs such a close parallel to yours that the lines never converge – although if they ever do: beware.
There have been, in two hundred years, a great many novels and stories set in New York City, but untili Paul Auster’s trilogy no one had made a serious effort to demonstrate its extreme antiquity, its surface flimsiness compared to its massive subterranean dephts, its claim on the origins of stories far older than written culture. But now we know, and that truth will inhere no matter how many times the city is reconfigured and how thoroughly living memory is banished from it. Auster, who owns the key, makes its use available to all readers.