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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017

Narrated by the award-winning author himself, this epic tale invites you into a world where the fate of a single person takes four different turns. Graceful and eloquent, it's a touching story of how a life can be dramatically altered by the choices you make.

Paul Auster's first novel in seven years. His greatest, most provocative, most heartbreaking, most satisfying work. A sweeping story of birthright and possibility, of love and the fullness of life itself. A masterpiece.

This audiobook contains exclusive bonus material in the form of an interview with the author.

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 Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson's story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America. A boy grows up - again and again and again.

As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, 4 3 2 1 is an unforgettable tour de force, the crowning work of this masterful writer's extraordinary career.

Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger for Leviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than 30 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

©2017 Paul Auster (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"One of the great writers of our time." ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Ms
  • 05-19-17

Brilliant book. genius Auster as usual!

i loved this complex novel once I worked out how to follow the different versions of the same boy.

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  • bookylady
  • 09-26-17

Brilliant. A complete masterpiece. Loved it.

Paul Auster is a writer of real intelligence, wit and is a master of complex plotting. The concept of this book -the lifestory of one person told in four different imaginings- is inspired and daring but the author pulls it off. Loved all the interwoven characters and the inclusion of the politics of 1960s/1970s USA. I was so sad when it ended but I will look forward to listening to it again n the future.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Badger
  • 02-01-17

Gold, pure Auster gold.

37 hours of Paul Auster's voice and text! This really is a dream come true. It's a rare treat to hear Auster narrate his fiction. His perfectly paced delivery is every bit as brilliant as his prose. I've listened to a few hours and know that I'll be listening again and again ... and again. And again ...

On a bit of a side note, if you're using an Apple device and it refuses to download - you might need to go into settings and download in parts, rather than the large single file.



23 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • The Blue Reviewer
  • 05-03-17

Arduous reading, some great but brief moments

What disappointed you about 4 3 2 1?

Not easy to follow. Probably requires a second read to fully absorb. Saying this, I feel no desire to read it again: The book might be more interesting for someone who is interested in writing literature as the bulk of the story is about the main character tying to "make it" in the field. His personal endeavours on the other hand, were a bit more exciting.Sadly, this is no Moon Palace, and I so wanted it to be.

Would you be willing to try another one of Paul Auster’s performances?

Tentatively yes.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

It was disappointing and depressing in equal measure.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 03-13-17

Was sad when it ended

From the first few moments I knew I was going to love this book. Auster's prose is beautiful and poetic. I don't want to write a review that gives away plot details but know that I was sad to finish as it meant I would no longer be spending times with The Fergusons. Splendid.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Liz
  • 09-21-17

Invest the time. it's worth it!

I loved this audible so much I have ordered the paperback. Listen and enjoy.

Four life stories, same characters but different paths and different lives. The clever thing is you get sucked into each Ferguson's life, but it's not difficult either to move between the four versions. I couldn't imagine how the author could bring the whole thing convincingly to an end. But he does and I loved it. Also appreciate Paul Auster reading the audible. Wonderful tone and pace of delivery. I could listen all day!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Allison
  • 09-04-17

Brilliant book...

...brilliantly read by a brilliant author. 35 hours makes for a long listen but I would happily have listened for longer.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Tamas Lorincz
  • 08-25-17

What a treat

Enjoyed every minute of this epic ride. The story, the narration, the history, the characters. Perfect joy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sussi Louise Smith
  • 04-10-17

For me. This is perfection. It's amazing

This book is by far Auster's best. And that's saying something. He is an amazing writer. But in this he takes his storytelling to not just a different level but a different plane altogether.
The kindness. The love for his character. The cruelty of life and love. It's real
Real life
Read

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • 05-01-17

engaging

An engaging story that explores how turning a different corner, making a different choice, can affect ones whole path in life. I loved the characters and really enjoyed following their stories. The fact that their paths were set against and entwined with real events..the civil rights movement. ..the war in Vietnam etc. made their journeys all the more vivid. A very good audible download.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms T
  • 02-22-18

A worthwhile commitment

This mammoth audiobook is actually four stories centred around the primary character, Archie Ferguson.

When Archie reaches the age of seven his life takes four differing paths and this book tells of his journeys along each path through adolescence and into adulthood.

This audiobook is a commitment: the chapters are long, dense with detail and highly political in parts, but it is incredibly thought-provoking and really worth the investment. The ending is a revelation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-17

Lovely characters but not a page turner

Beautifully read by the author. He has an amazing voice.
The 4 versions of the same character gets a little bit confusing and it's hard to tell which one is which. It's an interesting idea for a book using the parallel lives of the same character to explore all the possibilities it could hold but it's a little disappointing that the characters paths all lead in similar directions eg they're all writers. The author also goes off subject often with books within books within books and large sections about the history and politics. A whole chapter is a short story the lead character wrote about two shoes called Frank and Hank, which is a lovely short story but is a distraction in an already long book. Well written with lovely characters but not a 'page turner'

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lara
  • 09-12-17

I got there in the end!

I really liked the premise for the story as well as the narrators voice. I only listen in my car and I started listening to this on my uni break when I was driving less, so it took me about 2 months to finish it!!! I am a bit sad that it's over now... Archie has been my companion for a while.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 08-26-17

Ok story but long and dreary narration

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I usually like a good saga and the idea of decisions changing a life's direction was interesting. I ploughed through the book but would not read again.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 4 3 2 1?

None. Maybe not being American did not help. Lots of references to American sports people and very localised subjects I did not fully understand

What didn’t you like about Paul Auster’s performance?

Mono.tone. Dull. Would have been much better served by a decent narrator

1 of 1 people found this review helpful