On the Road to Nowhere
Conclusion: The useless quest and the journey doomed to failure 199
CONCLUSION The useless quest and the journey doomed to failure In Auster's fiction the quest is a fecund metaphor, which coalesces his autobiographic concerns with philosophical notions and metafictional reflections. The Invention of Solitude adumbrates the motif that will become the core of Auster's poetic world-the quest for the father and for the mystery of the self. The quest is transformed into the master- narrative of all the subsequent novels and is associated with different generic conventions and literary traditions, which are simultaneously evoked and deconstructed. In the transition from the extra-textual to the textual space, autobiographic motifs are filtered through the prisms of American myths, central concepts in contemporary philosophical and psychological theories and postmodern writing strategies. Sometimes, as in the Trilogy, the central quest is epistemological-a detective investigation, addressing and undermining the tacit assumptions of the genre, the belief in causality and logic. More often, as in Moon Palace or in The Music of Chance, it is a physical journey, ostensibly affiliating these novels with a central tradition of American letters, while questioning the values and ideological premises of that tradition. When the external quest is internalized, it becomes the narrativization of desire, evoking psychoanalytic theories in which desire plays a pivotal role. When the quest is transposed from the fictional to the metafictional plane, its continuously deferred ending is projected from the fictional protagonists' pursuit to that of their author and questing becomes a metaphor for narration. If the quest is omnipresent in Auster's fictional world, it...
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