4 3 2 1

4
Astonishing, a masterpiece, Paul Auster ’ s greatest, most straightforwar, most vivid and heartbreaking novel -- a sweeping and surprising story of inheritance, family, ove and life itself.

Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson ’ s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same gir, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson ’ s pleasur and ache from each Ferguson ’ s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson ’ s life rushes on.

As nventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a arvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.
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Original Series
Year of the Publication
Publication Date
Published January 31st 2017 by Henry Holt and Co.
Original Title of the Book
4 3 2 1
Number of Pages
866

Community Reviews

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gave it

Essentially it struck me as four different drafts of the same half-finished novel.

It remained for me four different drafts of a half-finished and not very enthralling novel.

gave it

I was born just three months before it 's protagonist, Archie Ferguson, and nine days after his author, Paul Auster.

But there are certain literary problems with the remise of alternative lives that I do n't think Auster has worked through thoroughly, at least not for my purposes.

So, which relationships should the author choose to modify in alternative life-stories?

The bumps and nudges Auster introduces in each of Mcpherso 's lives are like random variables in a gigantic mathematical equation.

How can an author maintain control over the cascading possibilities in a way that still has some kin of narrative sense?

How does the reader, for that matter, keep track of the partially congruent lives and the not-quite-the-same protagonists as they float through an interweaved existence?

By the time of the rotagonist 's childhoo, it is unlikely anyone who is n't a member of Mensa would be unable to remember which teenager descends from which toddler, whose uncl was the thrusting entrepreneur and whose the local hopkeeper, which girlfriend called Amy is in love ( or not) with which version of Ferguson, and whose aunt lives in California and whose in Brooklyn.

They are the kind of Kantian categories which shape the universe from which alternatives are selected.

These, of course, are as arbitrary as the scenarios that Auster creates within them.

gave it

I ’ ve read quite a bit of Auster ’ s work over the week, mainly his novels but also some of his non-fiction output too.

I ’ ve imbibed quite a bit of biographical detail in this time from books such as Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure and The Red Notebook: True Stories and consequently I can see that a good deal of the content herein is based on the uthor ’ s own passions and experiences.

Given the same start point for each of the four lives it follows that the paths diverge as a caus of random events which lead each Archie to follow a different route.

This an can certainly write! If, like me, you think you ’ ve missed out on many of the literary works that you you feel- or have been told- you should have read then there is a veritable crib sheet of titles here.

In fact, one of the Furguson ’ s has a list of one hundred books he must read drafted for him.

gave it

I felt that a lot was lost in the actual writing of it.4 3 2 1 is the tale of Archie Ferguson.

I will say that I was really please with how Paul Auster set out each different version of Archie – each personality was very distinguishable, even though they were inherently the same person.

At irst I thought Paul Auster was trying to convey that that was how a young teenager speaks, but as each version of Archie grew older, he continued to speak in the same manner rambling on about othing and it made me razy.

I would think that certain versions of him, the writer; the ournalist, would speak in shorter, more concise sentences and fully formed thoughts and that did not happen.

gave it

And, of course, thank you to Paul Auster for writing with the ravery and the talent to create something completely different in a way that is accessible and eminently readable for everyone.4 3 2 1 is a very different book; I have never read anything remotely like it in my reading life.

They were for me at first, but the writing is so rich and flowing that these concept are not detrimental at all and actually became part of the tal 's charm.Archie Ferguson is endearing in all his parallel lives, from his babyhood to young boyhood and through each lifespan.

There are multiple charged situations and radical pursuits of change from the 1960 ’ s and 1970 ’ s included throughout the stories.There is much to think about in this ook; so many partially-recalled events that were courageously brought to life in these novels.

Why not write four separate books instead of four parallel books in one?

Maybe Auster could have been writing about himself when he wrote Archie ’ s mind: Why attempt to do such a thing?

Because Ferguson wanted to test himself against the unknown and see if he could survive the struggle.I think it is surprising that Mr. Auster did test himself against the unknown with this book, and he survived this particular struggle with wit, grace, umour, and exceptionally splendid writing.

I recommend this books to nyone who is open to the challenge of reading a nove that is different, a ook that is long, that challenges and expands our thoughts and feelings throughout, and to nyone who is unable to suspend judgement in favor of discernment.

gave it

It is proving nearly impossible for me to write a coherent review of a book this large ( both in page count and in scope), so I am going to concentrate on a few guy that I kept thinking about since finishing it.This is Archie Fergusen 's story, told in four alternating timelines.

They are all allowed to make mistakes, to grow from those mistakes and to be complete people- even if they are not the focus of this grand work.While the book is very long, it never felt indulgent in its wordiness- the story Auster wants to tell can only be told in this grand a scope, even the in-depth analyses of baseball games were necessary.

This is a rare achievement in a genre where I often prefer tighter works to Dickensian ones.It is really nteresting to see what developments Auster sees as inevitable and which parts of Fergusen 's life change depending on the time line.

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