His characters are restless inquisitors, asking endless questions of life, undertaking journeys across the vastness of America, often in solitude, in pursuit of ends which even they themselves are unaware; and if these characters are not travelling outwards, then there is always the journey within." 1
Auster's narratives are elliptical, abstract and metaphysical. The comparison with Beckett is not extraneous because like Beckett, who in the least words and even lesser actions created an overwhelmingly powerful literary impression of post-war Europe, Auster has done it for America, except that unlike Beckett, Auster does not always refer to defining political moments but literary ones. For example, he has turned the detective story on its head in his path breaking New York Trilogy, of which Ghosts is the middle one. Similarly his search for that elusive American experience has found fruition in the True Tales of American Life, a broadcast project that sought to present real life stories from all over the States.
In his discussion of The Locked Room the third and by consensus the most powerful part of the New York Trilogy, Stephen Bernstein says "In The Locked Room, as in the other novels of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy, the path the reader follows diverges considerably from what might be expected in conventional detective fiction. ...Show more