This program is narrated by—and includes a bonus interview with—the author.
Paul Auster's greatest, most heartbreaking and satisfying novel—a sweeping and surprising story of birthright and possibility, of love and of life itself: a masterpiece.
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 boy, 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, listeners will take in each Ferguson's pleasures and ache from each Ferguson's pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson's life rushes on.
As inventive 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 listeners have never heard from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.
©2017 Paul Auster (P)2017 Macmillan Audio
I really like the fact that it was read by the author, so that I was able to hear the cadence in which it was meant to be heard.
I would compare this book to City on Fire and A Little Lie both of which I would really recommend.
I actually loved the performance but I did speed it up to 1.25x which resulted in a slight octave raise to the narrators voice. This made it a little easier to relate to him being a young man. He also did not attempt to fein female voices.
If you are to purchase this novel, be ready for the long haul. I listened to this over a period of 3 days and couldn't put it down. This was my first Paul Auster book and I definitely don't think it will be my last.
There have been a number of door stopper epics that have come out over the past couple of years but this is the only one I would consider a classic. Auster manages to give a beautiful emotional rendering of lives lived and possible; history of mid- 20th century America and how it echoed in people's lives; a philosophical/ psychological work in how we construct a life. I will reread this many times ( I hope). The author's reading is pitch perfect.
This book requires some serious investment in time and thought but oh what a return on that investment. I was sucked into the four lives of Ferguson. Loved it!
Full disclosure. I did not finish the book. I could not finish the book. A clever premise: same people different lives caused by different events. After that, a real yawn. The time period over which the stories take place--growing up in the 1950s in New Jersey and the upper west side of NY--is obviously autobiographical and generally pretty boring. Aunt so and so and uncle so and so and cousin so and so. One is a college professor, another an appliance store owner, and the protagonist is a kid called Archie who goes to camp, makes out with girls, listens to music, reads books--you get the picture; this is my life as a Jewish kid growing up in urban and suburban NY. To make matters worse, Auster has enough of an ego that he thinks he can read his own book to you and probably thinks he reads it well. It kind of like having your uncle Ben read you bedtime stories. I kept on waiting for something to happen and nothing really ever did. One thing I found really annoying is that Auster regularly showed off his knowledge of music and literature by having his characters tick off all the the great composers or poets. We get it Paul, you are very clever. Lots of hype about this book, but cannot understand why.
Obviously Auster is a a very talented writer. He brought the protagonist to life and I liked the multiple pathways. But so often, he had long lists of items or things, e.g., "Ferguson didn't like to eat vegetables - he didn't like cabbage, he didn't like eggplants, onions, celery, green beans, red peppers, bok choy, snap peas, zucchini, or avocado." Also, included long play-by-plays of baseball games from 4 decades ago. And then in the middle, a short story about shoes? Some editing would have been helpful.
I love Paul Auster, so I had high expectations. There were many excellent stories within the story, however the overall big picture was hard to finish. I also found it very hard to listen to. In this modern era of performers reading audiobooks, Paul was not up to the challenge. His phrasing was peculiar.If I had not been a fan of his other works, I would have given up.
Mechanical. I’ve always assumed that no one would be more qualified to transform text into speech than the author him/herself. I was clearly mistaken - this should be left to a professional. I reverted to the printed version on my Kindle after only an hour or two of listening to this otherwise excellent novel by Mr. Auster (have been a loyal and enthusiastic follower of his output since NY Trilogy). I prefer listening to the voice inside my head in the long run.
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