This is a series of subtle interlocking novellas set in
To give you a flavour of the book, in the City of
The story then takes many twists and turns and ends with the author as character being criticised by a final narrator who may be one of the characters from the other stories for what happens to Daniel Quinn during the course of the story.
In the Locked Room all the characters are named after colours and it’s a classical stake-out story but is it? Or is it a reflection on the lives of characters once that have been created and written about?
The final story is of two friends who have drifted apart, one wanted to be a writer and is now a critic unable to create works of his own imagination. He discovers that his friend has disappeared leaving a wife and baby and a locked room of manuscripts. These turn out to be masterpieces of novels, plays, and poems far beyond his capability of writing. In preparing those for publishing he re-enters and re-evaluates his life long friendship and what it meant but at a cost as he faces a secret that tests him and his relationships to destruction.
Paul Auster’s draws on his own colourful work life in his struggle to become a writer so the stories have a grain of gritty realism. But they are interlinked by an interest in the impact of coincidences and lives lived in minimalist even ascetic ways against a background of a loss, failure and absent fathers and reflections on writing and storytelling. If you want a painless way into postmodernist metafiction then this is the book for you. Highly recommended.