29 September 2011

The New York Trilogy

'The detective is one who looks, who listens, who moves through this morass of objects and events in search of the thought, the idea that will pull all these things together and make sense of them. In effect, the writer and the detective are interchangeable. The reader sees the world through the detective's eyes, experiencing the proliferation of its details as if for the for first time. He has become awake to the things around him, as if they might speak to him, as if, because of their attentiveness he now brings to them, they might begin to carry a meaning other than the simple fact of their existence. Private eye. The term held a triple meaning for Quinn. Not only was it the letter "i," standing for "investigator," it was "I" in the upper case, the tiny life-bud buried in the body of the breathing self. At the same time, it was also the physical eye of the writer, the eye of the man who looks out from himself into the world and demands that the world reveal itself to him. For five years now, Quinn had been living in the grip of this pun.'

From Paul Auster's seminal novel City of Glass and the first instalment of his terrific The New York Trilogy. A book and a trilogy which, in part, set off my love for the sardonic voice of American post modern American literature. Auster and the prolific Don DeLillo provided me a voice of covertly clever realism and a hard-done-by perspective I would never have cultivated had I not been introduced to their work. The gentleman who handed me these dogeared paperbacks remains my most treasured mentor.


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