Stillman's Maze





Other links

Buy this book
in paperback

Buy this book
in paperback
in the Trilogy

This is the second, and perhaps most peculiar, volume of the New York Trilogy. The issues of control and power over a story between the author, the characters, and the readers are brought up even more explicitly in this work. Again the detective plays a prominent role in exploring these ideas, but the focus is even more explicitly focused on words, language, and the experience of reading or writing a book.

The story begins with a detective who has been hired to watch another man and write down everything that this other man does. The problem is that all that this other man does is sit at his desk and write all day, which is, therefore, all that the detective ends up doing. Eventually he learns that the man across the street who he has been hired to observe is also the man who has hired him. Once he has gained this knowledge, the detective begins to wonder what the point of his assignment is, and eventually decides to confront the man who has been toying with him. This confrontation between character (the detective) and author (the man across the street) is the tension that lies at the heart of all three books of the Trilogy.

Auster told me that a friend of his told him that it was a parable about reading a book, which is as good a description as I've heard. It also follows up on the theme of the character/reader escaping the control of the author and writing their own stories instead of passively submitting to the author's control, an idea that is the focus of the final installment of the Trilogy.


Hosted by WebCom