Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ghosts by Paul Auster

Title: Ghosts (Book 2 of The New York Trilogy)
Author: Paul Auster
ISBN: 9780140131550
Publisher: Penguin/1986
Pages: 72

Ghosts is the second novel in The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. A short one at 72 pages, it manages to hold interest.

Named after colours, the various characters truly depict those alloted names. White hires a private detective Blue to spy on Black. Blue calls the future Mrs. Blue that he is going under cover for a while and moves into an apartment right in front of Black. Now Black doesn't do much other than sitting in front of his window, either reflecting into space or writing something. Blue doesn't like the inactivity. But he still sends reports to White. Those are sterile reports. None of those contain his thoughts.

Blue gets his weekly cheques and ought to be happy living in a fully furnished apartment, watching Black. However, he being a man of action, the lethargy does not become him. Blue disguises himself as an old man and contacts Black, who says he (Blue) looks like the poet, Walt Whitman. Yet, Blue can't find much about Black. Although he has doubts.

One day he breaks into Black's apartment and finds out that Black to is spying on someone and writing about it too. Things come to a head and the title Ghosts makes perfect sense.

Auster writes in no flowery prose, yet there is something which compels the reader to go on. The lucidity is astounding and there is much much more than the apparently simple story. The obseession of a private eye, his boredom, and his thought process go into many directions. We are with Blue, all the way, and want to know more about Black. And also about White. Blue also reflects about his mentor, Brown. All these colours kind of make these characters visual. And the colours merge making way fr new colours. The ending is left open for interpretation and the title has wide ramifications.

Those who like to think beyond the obvious, and can go into many layers of a story will like this short novel and will reach out for other Auster works. Just as I have. I will. Over and over again.


Unknown said...

Sounds like a satisfying read.
Mine is up

Allison said...

Wow, I am so intrigued just for the fact the book is less than 100 pages!

Staci said...

Love that you enjoyed it so much and I also love that it is only 72 pages!

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of this author. I'll have to check it out.

kayerj said...

wow, sounds like a different kind of story. If you want to wander down my road I’m home.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a book I'd enjoy!!

Thanks for playing this week!

Kristen said...

Interesting. I've heard Paul Auster is a love him or hate him sort of author. And I must admit that in my lowbrow world, hearing that all the characters are named for colours makes me think of the board game (or movie) Clue. LOL!

Book Dragon said...

sounds interesting, I wonder if I'd be able to keep the colors straight.

Thanks for stopping by!

beth said...

The anonymity of the characters does scream New York to me. Sounds like an interesting read.

Anonymous said...

im reading this in english, and im not an english speaker... but at the moment i havent understand that blue is "happy" living in this fully furnechured apartment... he is just there kind of lazy for all that is confortable starting with the thing he has with ex-future mrs blue