On the Road to Nowhere
Chapter Two: "On his best of walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere": City of Glass 35
CHAPTER TWO "On his best walks, he was able to feel that he was nowhere": City of Glass Slowly, I am coming to understand the absurdity of the task I have set for myself ... I have to invent the road with each step, and this means that I can never be sure of where I am. A feeling of moving around in circles, of perpetual back-tracking, of going off in many directions at once. -Paul Auster, The Invention of Solitude Part One: The New York Trilogy The epigraph of this chapter, although taken from The Invention of Solitude, aptly prefigures the theme, structure and central metaphor interlacing the three sections of The New York Trilogy. Auster's disheartened observation about the futility of the task he has set for himself in his autobiography is echoed, at some time or other, by each one of the protagonists of the Trilogy. The task is invariably the same- the solution of a mystery. It is conceptualized in spatial terms, as the terminus of a convoluted road. The attempt to reach the end of the road-the quest-is frustrating, and ultimately futile. And although the nature of the mystery explored in The Invention of Solitude seems to be different from the mysteries pursued by Quinn, Blue, and by the nameless narrator of The Locked Room, the difference is only apparent. The three stories making up The New York Trilogy were originally published separately, as City of Glass (1985), Ghosts and The Locked Room ( 1986). Each story...
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