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

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.

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)

Rodrigo Curicó Fernández

Lo terminé de leer de mala gana. No sé si haya sido mi falta de interés en la historia o la falta de peso de la msima, pero confundí todo el tiempo a Azul y Negro y Blanco y etc. Innovadora idea la de usar colores en vez de nombres, supongo, pero en mí caso sólo contribuyó a enredarme aún más. El dramatismo del final no me llegó para nada. Los devaneos mentales del protagonista no se aferraban a nada que pudiera imaginar o sentir como suele ocurrir con otras novelas (otras novelas del mismo autor, incluso). Subrayé, de todos modos, esta frase que resume lo único interesante del libro: "¿Cómo salir de la habitación que es el libro que continuará escribiendose mientras él siga en la habitación?". Espero que la "La habitación cerrada" no me defraude, porque sinceramente tengo intenciones de que me guste Auster (?)

Kiri Little

Clever. Simple and clever. And short. For me, a more impressive story than City of Glass, although I preferred the writing of the first. Whilst they are thematically linked in many ways, the stories themselves are discrete...almost as if Auster is playing with the different sides of his own character, just as the voices in these novels/this trilogy explore the meaning of identity.


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.

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.


So the "trilogy" (City of Glass, Ghosts, The Locked Room) is really just one book. Like it doesn't even make sense to review them separately.And um, wow. Crazy & interesting & clearly with SO much going on below the surface. (Now that I know how everything ties together, I may need to read it again to really get it.) Dream-like & spooky & incredibly well-written.From a Washington Post Review - "Ever since City of Glass, the first volume of his New York Trilogy, Auster has perfected a limpid, confessional style, then used it to set disoriented heroes in a seemingly familiar world gradually suffused with mounting uneasiness, vague menace and possible hallucination. His plots — drawing on elements from suspense stories, existential récit and autobiography — keep readers turning the pages, but sometimes end by leaving them uncertain about what they've just been through." I'd say that's about right.Short, though, even with all three put together. I could've gone on reading this for weeks.


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


[Just tossing words out] This must be one of those deconstructed, existential, minimalist detective stories for people who consider the genre beneath them. It spent a whole lot of time going nowhere, which I suppose is the point, and then ends suddenly and Spillainely. Perhaps it is just a send-up of the genre in an artier form for the cognoscente, but the observer/observed and writer/reader confusion was done to death by the 1960s and done by much better writers (Borges, for example). I kept hoping Mr. Blue would get the point sooner and ask Caleb Carr to help him with that Mr. Gold conundrum so something interesting might happen, but alas it was not to be. Mercifully, the book was short, however it took me two weeks to read 96 pages.


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.

Jason Edwards

Took me three days to read this novel. Blame it on the weekend—I’m busier on weekends. Blame video games, football games, other distractions. Blame City of Glass, which impressed me in no way. Blame mostly this so-called existentialism. I guess I just don’t get it. I take no pride in that ignorance, you know. Ghosts is sixty pages of I don’t know what. (Is that even a novel. Is that even a novelette. Should I not be reviewing these titles individually). All of the characters have colors for names. Real names are reserved for referenced movie stars and the characters they play, or for the disguises main character Blue dons. So what? Yeah, so what.I said existentialism (cause that’s what it says on the ironic “pulp” style cover of the novel: “A Penguin Existential Mystery.” But all the critics say “post-modern.” Here. I think “post-modern” means “A writer who’s been published before has been published again and since other folks said what he wrote was good this must be good too but we don’t get it at all but we still have to say we do or we look like idiots.” Apparently, we have entered the post-post-modern age, thank goodness. Nevertheless, on for me to the next one in this Trilogy. I wonder if it will also have a guy watching a guy and losing himself.


Though I apparently read novels that are "devoid of intellectual thought" (according to an acquaintance), I found this to be one of the more intellectually stimulating works I've read in a good while. Far superior to the too full of itself City of Glass, the more streamlined narrative in this case allows the metatextual nature of Auster's work to finally make some sense, rather than dance around a real issue. Though the ending is a bit obvious (especially coming off reading City of Glass), it still lingered in the recesses of my brain for a few days afterwards. Good stuff.

Hamidreza Hosseini

یکی از دوستان ما که داشت از ایران میرفت، تعداد زیادی از کتابهای کتابخونه ش رو به صورت اجاره ی 99 ساله داد به ما. از بین کتابهاش، به نظرم تعداد زیادیشون عجیب و غریب هستن. البته به شخصیت این دوستمون هم میخورن این کتابا«ارواح» پل اُستر کتابی بود که از اواسط تا اواخرش، ذهنم رو درگیر فضای عجیب و غریب توهم و درون نگری و گاهی هم پوچی کرده بود. کتاب رو دوست داشتم ولی چون موضوع جالبی داشت، حس میکنم بهتر از اینا میتونست باشه

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