The search for an elusive identity in Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy

Another from Hard Boiled ….

Hard boiled philosophy

In what have been described as three ‘seductive metaphysical thrillers’ Auster brilliantly tells the story of detectives whose cases lead to the unraveling of their identities. Who would not want to read those?

The New York Trilogy was the book that brought Paul Auster to public attention. With such a distinctive style, gripping plot and beguiling set of ideas, and it’s not surprising.

In it Auster takes the detective story format and turns it on its head, giving us three interweaving takes on it. The first in the trilogy is City of Glass, a strange and unsettling mediation on the fragility of life. When a detective named Quinn is asked to look out for someone being released from prison and ensure they don’t get to his son, he becomes single-mindedly obsessed, staking out the father, dropping all elements of his previous life in the process, and continuing to do so…

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Deceit, self-deception and Moscow in A D Miller’s Snowdrops

My latest blog on Hard Boiled Philosophy

Hard boiled philosophy

Snowdrops reads like a conventional thriller but, despite its stereotypical view of Moscow, Miller’s use of language and its reflection on how our own desires are hidden to ourselves elevates it to another level.

It focuses on Nick, a British expat lawyer living in Moscow. In his mid-thirties, Nick has been there for four or so years, living a hedonistic life. He meets two good looking Russian girls (apparently sisters) on the underground – Masha and Katya – and falls for the former.

Their relationship develops gradually through the novel, with him pursing an elusive Masha and eventually enjoying an ambiguous but enjoyable relationship with this enigmatic Russian. Eventually he helps their Aunt move from a city centre apartment to one outside the city. In turns out, though, that Masha and Katya were swindling the lady – who wasn’t their Aunt, and who they just met on the underground like…

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