Book Review – 4321


by Paul Auster (Faber & Faber) ISBN: 9780571324620

What if we could explore different lives as a single person? This is the teasing question cult author Paul Auster unravels in his latest novel. The main character, Ferguson, is taken down four extraordinary fictional paths.

For over 800 pages we follow Ferguson into different inner worlds – of love, friendship, family history, sex, and everything else a young man experiences as he maps out his own identity. While Auster writes with masterful confidence and spins a fascinating narrative Ferguson, as a character, is not charismatic enough to always hold the attention. The sheer scope of the story can be intimidating for some readers.

The premise of this inventive and complex tale is an ambitious one. Perhaps too ambitious, but Auster has created a breathlessly original re-imagining of the traditional coming-of-age story. It’s not an easy weekend read, but will satisfy those who enjoy multi-faceted modern fiction.

Anthony Ehlers
4/5

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