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Literature / The New York Trilogy

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A compilation of three detective fiction novellas by Paul Auster. Well, that might be oversimplifying things a little bit. The New York Trilogy's three stories are postmodern Mind Screws based on the format of the standard detective novel and Film Noir, piling mysteries on mysteries and mystery of mystery itself.

City of Glass (1985)

The first novella, City of Glass, centres around author Daniel Quinn, who recieves a call in the middle of the night in his apartment, asking for the detective Paul Auster. He passes himself off as Auster and accepts the case of Peter Stillman, a damaged young man whose father locked him in a darkened room with no human contact for most of his life. As Quinn investigates the case, he loses his sense of identity as Daniel Quinn, and descends into madness. This story also includes another Paul Auster, who is a complete author avatar. This character is the one who relayed the information of the story to the unnamed 'author' referenced in the novella.


Tropes featured include:

Ghosts (1986)

The private eye Blue, a pupil of Brown, investigates Black of Orange Street for White.


Tropes featured include:

  • Colorful Theme Naming: Everyone in the story is named after a color, except historical figures and (meta)fictional characters.
  • No Name Given: Blue's sweetheart is referred to only as "the future Mrs. Blue". Until she breaks up with him, when she becomes "the former future Mrs. Blue" or similar circumlocutions.
  • The Stakeout: Blue spends most of his time staking out Black's apartment.

The Locked Room (1986)

The narrator is contacted by the wife of his recently disappeared childhood friend Fanshawe, who wants him to deal with the writings that Fanshawe has left behind.

Tropes featured include: