City of Glass by Paul Auster Essay

Topics: Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy, Novel Pages: 4 (1556 words) Published: December 11, 2012
The New York Triology: City of Glass
By Paul Auster

City of Glass is a novel written by Paul Auster in 1985, and its one of the stories included in the series of novels The New York Trilogy (1987). One of the essential themes that recur in many of Austers works is the search for identity and personal meaning, and this is exactly one of the main elements of City of Glass. It deals with this detective writer, who descends into madness when he becomes a private investigator himself by mistake. In the following essay, I will focus on the characters and the very twisted point of view, which is a big part of the whole novel. Besides that, I will concentrate on the themes that are dealt with in the story.

City of Glass is about the 35 years old writer, Daniel Quinn, whose wife and child he has lost. He lives a lonely life in New York, where he publishes a mystery novel every 5 or 6 months, which makes is possible for him to live a comfortable life in a small apartment. Quinn seems like a mysterious person from the beginning of the story. He hides behind the pseudonym William Wilson, and writes about the detective Max Work, who he admires. Therefore it is no wonder that Quinn takes the job as a detective, and pretends to be someone he is not, when he gets a phone call that was meant for a Paul Auster. He gets involved in a case where he meets Peter Stillman Jr. and Virginia Stillman and is given the task to find and pursue Peter Stillman Sr., who is a threat for the family. Quinn, or Paul Auster who he pretends to be, finds himself investigating the case, but loses both Stillman Sr. and himself in the progress. After a meeting with the “real” Paul Auster, he re-obtains his determination, and the desperation of solving the case makes him place himself outside the house of the Stillmans, where he adapts a new way of living. His personality and appearance changes, just for him to find out that Stillman Jr. and Virginia has left, and that Stillman Sr. has committed...
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