Ghosts (The New York Trilogy, #2)

ISBN: 014009735X
ISBN 13: 9780140097351
By: Paul Auster

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About this book

The second book in the acclaimed New York Trilogy--a detective story that becomes a haunting and eerie exploration of identity and deception. It is a story of hidden violence that culminates in an inevitable but unexpectedly shattering climax.

Reader's Thoughts


Wonderful short story (part two of The New York Trilogy). In some ways almost the same story as part one, but I found it more satisfying in the end. Can we watch ourselves and actually learn anything?


In the second book of the New York Trilogy, Auster repeats a lot of the themes and plot elements from City of Glass, with a bit of a twist on them. Once again we have the endless stake-out, the obsessive main character, and the rumination on language and stories. Like CoG we don't get a clear explanation of what happened, but I think there's a firmer idea of it. I have to admit to being a bit confused as to what Auster's getting at here. Hopefully Locked Room, the final book of the trilogy, will shed some more light on things.Aside: All of the characters in this book are named after colours, which made me feel like at times I was playing Postmodern Clue.


Dear Mr. White, After weeks of pursuit, we locked up in a feedback loop: he was following me, too..., "Continuation", John VandersliceI began reading this while watching the comedy, A Guy Thing after midnight on July 5th. The movie did nothing to my reading except for provoking me to edit in Selma Blair as "the future Mrs. Blue".But, oh, this novella was *leans in* tasty; and, yes, I chose to read the New York Trilogy out of order: chose the leanest slice of the three on offer. A detective (named Blue) shadows a man (named Black) who is a shadow of the detective. Bruising of the psyche ensues; especially the reader's, who slowly realizes that s/he's been shadowing both Blue and Black. That's my report.R.P.S. At one point Black sheds a tear. Get it? He's blue. And then Blue kills Black. Get it? Villains wear black (the hat on their head, the leathery hide of their heart).


I am torn on this review, I wanted to give it a 3 but I feel if I read it 2 or 3 more times, it would need to be a 5, so I went with 4 for now. Auster's writing make me feel that there is something just beneath the surface of the words that I am missing. I like that kind of writing only when I find out what it is. Unfortunately I didn't discover it... maybe there's nothing there to find.


Decent, with an ending that actually follows from its premises; much better in that regard than City of Glass, though perhaps that's to be expected from a thematic sequel. Names are all colors - I see what he's trying to do by dehumanizing the characters and abstracting them, but it seems far too cute for a serious writer. Once again, Auster's characters demonstrate an immunity to standard logic that defies his representation of them as (in Blue's case) hard-boiled private investigators. Once again, thinly disguised literary essays in the proper interpretation of the book make up much of its dialogue. Worth reading for Blue's response to the book and its author, which, while shocking, make for a good laugh if read in the right context.


Reading Ghosts, I had the bizarre feeling, the whole time, that I'd read the story before. That I'd read about this premise being played out somewhere else. In any case, I think I've got more of a handle on the kind of story Paul Auster is telling. It's definitely not a clear-cut detective novel -- I didn't expect it to be, but some people tried to read it and the first book, at least, in that way.It's oddly absorbing despite the quiet feel of it; I read it more or less in one sitting. It's very odd. Quiet, like I said, with lots of space to think.

DJ Dycus

Clever, interesting, puzzling, yes--but it didn't quite knock my socks off like City of Glass did. What is intriguing, though, are the connections between the two parts--it's certainly not a sequel in the conventional sense.


The second book of The New York Trilogy, Ghosts is better than the first. The third book will confirm or debunk this statement, but the trilogy is a trilogy of theme and setting, rather than of plot or characters. Ghosts continues to explore aspects of identity. Blue is hired by Black to spy on White: that is the description on the cover of the book. Ghosts is short and sweet, the mystery is compelling and while some of the twists are predictable the ending is still a bit of a surprise. I have always enjoyed books that explore identity and reality, I like it when the question of "what is real the dreamer or the dream?" gets examined. I always leave these types of books with unanswered questions, and they stick in my thoughts for a while after I am done reading.


Part 2!This is a completely different novel than City of Glass , but it follows similar themes. Once again, this is at its heart a detective story with a postmodern twist. However, unlike the first book in the New York Trilogy--where the surreal and uneasy feeling grows gradually--in this installment, it's immediate from the first page that this is going to be a playful, unique novel when we're introduced to the characters who all have color names. (I briefly wondered if this might be an inspiration for the film Reservoir Dogs, but that's really the only thing the two have in common.) There's also an emphasis on writers, here, and writing itself as an art is a big theme throughout the narrative. I feel like the themes here aren't as obvious as in the first story, though, and the story is more vague and open to interpretation. I may not have gotten it all, but I definitely enjoyed the reading experience.


I expected and hoped that this book being the second book in The New York Trilogy was going to help tie up and loose ends to City of Glass however it was a completely different story. However I did enjoy this story much more then City of Glass and the twists about Mr. Black at the end were unexpected and enjoyable however the ending about what happened to Blue was unsatisfactory just like the ending to City of Glass.

Daniel Parks

First of all there is Blue. Later there is White, and then there is Black, and before the beginning there is Brown... That it is how it begins.Auster brings the meta with the second book in his New York Trilogy. The writer spys on the writer, the reader spys on the writer spying on the writer, who is also the reader because through the course of spying on the writer the writer reads his own story. Ghosts at times can feel a bit like what would happen if a brilliant writer was given a high school creative writing assignment ("Create a piece of fiction using as many color names as you can" or "Write a story where you put yourself into the story"), but its more than just creative writing, its existential philosophy.

Mary Overton

Auster strips down the detective story to its essential nature - the Outsider watching Others, the quest for identity, the revelation of secrets, the communication of that which is forbidden to say. One way to read GHOSTS is as an inner drama -- a dialog among the many aspects of the Self."To speculate, from the Latin speculatus, meaning to spy out, to observe, and linked to the word speculum, meaning mirror or looking glass. For in spying out at Black across the street, it is as though Blue were looking into a mirror, and instead of merely watching another, he finds that he is also watching himself." (20) "It suddenly occurs to Blue that he can no longer depend on the old procedures. Clues, legwork, investigative routine - none of this is going to matter anymore. But then, when he tries to imagine what will replace these things, he gets nowhere. At this point, Blue can only surmise what the case is not. To say what it is, however is completely beyond him." (24-5)"Writing is a solitary business. It takes over your life. In some sense, a writer has no life of his own. Even when he's there, he's not really there.... ghost." (66)


Preferred the first book ...This had a disappointing climax

Labeeb Xaman

I found this story more interesting than 'City of Glass'. From the beginning, I was hooked. At first I didn't like the names of the characters that much but later I didn't care that much. The other thing I didn't like was that, for me, the ending was either incomplete or unclear. I didn't understand why Black did that to Blue and whether future Mrs. Blue was angry because he didn't make any contact for a long time or because White or Black told her something negative about Blue.


This book is the second book from The New York trilogy and it has similar themes as The City of Glass. I don't really like this book because I don't like the plot. Even though, it has similar components like the first book, the author doesn't uses as many themes in this book. But yet; he conveys his plot and every detail of his characters through literary elements. I think he did a better job creating a well-rounded character in The City of Glass than this book. I think the author should've use more themes in this book like his first book because the themes allow the readers to connect well with the plot. Also, the themes also makes the plot seems more realistic. Overall, it is a great book and it has many mysteries ion it.

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