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Review by Ilse Scheepers
Auster's latest novel is an absolute thumper that will cause anyone foolish enough to carry it around in a shoulder bag a permanent crick in the neck.
The novel follows the life of Archibald Ferguson - in fact, it follows four parallel lives of the same Archibald Ferguson - exploring the roads taken, not taken, taken by someone else, and dare I say it, roads that never existed in the first place but that still bare considering.
This is a novel that requires the reader to contort and stretch their reading minds in new ways, keeping track of four different iterations of the one man, while also pausing to bask in the undeniable musicality of Auster's prose. Complex and deliberately difficult at times, Auster plays with his readers and challenges them to keep up while he riffs on the page.
You'll want to keep a pen and paper by your side when you read this one - charting the various family trees and noting the various fulcrums and hinges at work in this novel is as enjoyable as the narrative itself.
Paul Auster's first novel in seven years. His greatest, most provocative, most heartbreaking, most satisfying work. A sweeping story of birthright and possibility, of love and the fullness of life itself. A masterpiece.'One of the great writers of our time' San Francisco Chronicle
On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born.
From that single beginning, Ferguson's life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson's story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America.
A boy grows up-again and again and again.As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written 4 3 2 1 is an unforgettable tour de force, the crowning work of this masterful writer's extraordinary career.
About the Author
Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions, The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger forLeviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Number Of Pages: 800
Published: 31st January 2017
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Edition Number: 1
Edition Type: Main