This is a set of three short novels. Or perhaps one novel with three sections. The three novels may be related. The three novels may not be related.
This is what you're getting into when you read Paul Auster. Many of his stories deal with coincidence and chance. One example is in a brief aside he tells about a man with a wife and young child who hikes in the mountains and is buried under an avalanche. Years later the son happens to hike across the same woods and comes across his father's body, intact from the snow and ice, and recognizes the man immediately, because the father resembles the son. However, the son is older than the father was at his death, so he sees his younger self staring back.
Each novel starts off as a simple mystery of pursuit, but soon the cat-and-mouse games become an adventure of identity, and the challenge of changing (or outright eliminating) one's identity. Now this may not sound very exciting if your literary diet consists of Grisham, Steel, and King, but I assure you that once you begin reading this trilogy, you'll be sucked in.
In each of the stories the reader witnesses, along with each narrator, characters who are doing nothing. In Ghosts, for example, a man leaves an apartment, buys a newspaper, returns to the apartment, reads the newspaper, while all his actions are secretly recorded by another man in an adjacent apartment building. The actions seem so humdrum to the writer that he suspects that the man he’s spying on must be up to something, for why would he have been hired to watch the man?
The novel (they three are now available in one collection, although I read them as separate entities) are full of suspense and plot elements (characters named after members of the 1986 Mets, a minor character named Paul Auster who happens to be a writer, every character in Ghosts being named for color) that will have you making charts to keep track of everything. You’ll soon find yourself getting your friends hooked on the stories, you’ll be stunned by each devastating climax, and you’ll want to re-read the first section as you complete the final one to go back and pick up everything you missed.
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