• The New York Trilogy

  • By: Paul Auster
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (595 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Paul Auster's brilliant debut novels, City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room brought him international acclaim for his creation of a new genre, mixing elements of the standard detective fiction and postmodern fiction.

City of Glass combines dark, Kafka-like humor with all the suspense of a Hitchcock film as a writer of detective stories becomes embroiled in a complex and puzzling series of events, beginning with a call from a stranger in the middle of the night asking for the author - Paul Auster - himself. Ghosts, the second volume of this interconnected trilogy, introduces Blue, a private detective hired to watch a man named Black, who, as he becomes intermeshed into a haunting and claustrophobic game of hide-and-seek, is lured into the very trap he has created.

The final volume, The Locked Room, also begins with a mystery, told this time in first-person narrative. The nameless hero journeys into the unknown as he attempts to reconstruct the past, which he has experienced almost as a dream. Together these three fictions lead the reader on adventures that expand the mind as they entertain.

As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Paul Auster's book, you'll also get an exclusive Jim Atlas interview that begins when the audiobook ends.

This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.
©2006 Paul Auster (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Auster harnesses the inquiring spirit any reader brings to a mystery, redirecting it from the grubby search for a wrongdoer to the more rarified search for the self." ( New York Times Book Review)
"Eminently readable and mysterious.... Auster has added some new dimensions to modern literature and - more importantly even - to our perspectives on the planet." ( Boston Globe)
"By turning the mystery novel inside out, Auster may have initiated a whole new round of storytelling." ( The Village Voice)

What listeners say about The New York Trilogy

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Perhaps more interesting than important

REVIEW 1: City of Glass

An interesting PoMo novella. Auster's first novel/second book/first of his 'New York Trilogy', 'City of Glass' is simultaneously a detective novel, an exploration of the author/narrative dynamic, and a treatise on language. I liked parts, loved parts, and finished the book thinking the author had written something perhaps more interesting than important.

My favorite parts were the chapters where Auster (actual author Auster) through the narrator Quinn acting as the detective Auster explored Stillman's book: 'The Garden and the Tower: Early Visions of the New World'. I also enjoyed the chapter where Auster (character Auster) and Quinn (acting as detective Auster) explored Auster's (character Auster) Don Quixote ideas. Those chapters reminded me obliquely (everything in City of Glass is oblique) of Gaddis.

In the end, however, it all seemed like Auster had read Gaddis wanted to write a PoMo novel to reflect the confusing nature of the author/narrator/translator/editor role(s) of 'Don Quixote', set it all in Manhatten, and wanted to make the prose and story fit within the general framework of a detective novel. He pulled it off and it all kinda worked. I'll say more once I finish the next two of the 'New York Trilogy'.

REVIEW 2: Ghosts

An uncanny valley of Gaddis IMHO. 'Ghosts', the second book in Auster's 'New York Trilogy' reminds me what I both like and don't like about MFA writers. Often clever and grammatically precise but they don't say so much. If they were painters their perspective would be perfect and their posters would sell, but the pigment or texture or something between the edges is just missing that undercurrent of something to give a real shit about.


REVIEW 3: The Locked Room

Not much to add that I haven't already written in my reviews of Auster's first two 'New York Trilogy' novels. In 'The Locked Room' Auster dances with the same themes, with slightly different variations. The novellas are more brothers to each other instead of cousins. In a lot of ways he reminds me of an earlier generations' Dave Eggers. There is definitely a lot of talent latent in the guy. He certainly can write, but unlike Fitzgerald who was able to tell a similar themed story in his novels and still provide weight. I just didn't feel the gravity. It was like Camus couldn't really decide whether to kill the Arab, didn't know if he cared or not, so he just walked around killed himself but made the Arab watch.

I don't know. That may not be right. I'll probably just delete this review anyway. Only Otis will read it and I've asked him to delete all my reviews he doesn't like anyway. How do I guarantee this? Well, I could talk about Otis. I could tell you that there are things about author Auster, unrelated to his books I just don't like (who lives in NY Anyway?). He is a bad behaving author (untrue). He keeps sending me his manuscripts and wants me to say nice things about his work (untrue). I don't know. Is Auster married? Maybe, I'll go and console his wife now.

25 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The best audiobook I've heard

I don't blindly scatter 5 star reviews around, but this audiobook gets top marks. I'd heard people talk about this book for years, but never read it. Not everyone was complimentary, but even the detractors conceded that it had a certain elusive narrative quality that set it apart.

I finally bought the audiobook about 18 months ago, and have just listened again to the whole thing, for the 3rd time now.

Art, including literature, and including audiobooks, is totally subjective -- it barely needs saying. So there is no criticism or sneering from me towards anyone who doesn't enjoy this audiobook, and/or this story. But I must say that for me, an audiobook fan, New York Trilogy is the best. The narrative, weaving through reality and delusion, is both thrilling and disturbing, and so evocative of hidden corners of our our own lives. The clincher though is the magnificent narration. I say without hesitation that the world-weary tones of Joe Barrett turns from a very good book into a magnificent audiobook.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

This is exceptional fiction. Superb narration.

Auster's New York Trilogy is excellent literature; not for the faint of heart and perhaps not for fans of typical popular fiction. Labeling this work "postmodern detective fiction" does it a certain disservice. Surreal and strange, Auster's three stories blend well but City of Glass is surely the standout. If you like Kafkaesque characters and scenarios, fiction and plot lines which blur and bleed between stories and out of the pages, and dark unsettling cityscapes; Auster's masterpiece will be right up your proverbial alley.

Joe Barrett's gruff detective-style voice was seemingly hand-picked by Auster himself. Great stories, great reading. Highly suggested.

5 people found this helpful

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Gripping, thought-provoking, hilarious

I loved this read. The middle story did drag - like repeating the first story without any of the fun stuff. But the first and last stories were fantastic - really genuine and free of many of the usual story-telling conventions that can stifle an author's voice. Also, this is one of the few audiobooks in which the narration is so good I don't think I would have gotten as much out of it if I'd simply read it. So good I gifted the audiobook to a friend.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Starts slow...but gains speed

I would recommend this book but only to a reader with a great deal of patience. The story takes chapter upon chapter to get going. It starts out well, then falls flat, picks up again, then falls flat, then takes off and remains quite interesting. But that occurs in the second part. So if you can survive the uneven-ness of the first part - you should be alright. I wasn't inamoured of the narration either. Well Mr. Barrett has a pleasantly relaxing style - I found it maybe too relaxing and sometimes much drabbly monotone. He was putting me to sleep - or maybe it was the story. Maybe it's not my cup-o-tea.

4 people found this helpful

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The biggest waste of words I've ever found

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

if the stories had (a) made sense (b) had some point or purpose (c) been enjoyable to LISTEN to. The dialogue, in particular, was so repetitive in the first story and you can't scan an audiobook! The second story also was really hard to follow auditorialy, "Brown said to White look at Black and call Blue." It was FRUSTRATING to listen to these stories and then, nothing gets revealed or tied up in the end, so I felt like I had wasted my time!

Has The New York Trilogy turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, I don't think so. I try to give multiple chances. Now, might it turn me off from other books by this AUTHOR, yes. I think this is just his style and that style just doesn't translate well to an audio book. I would have skimmed the repetitive dialogue in the first story and wanted to be able to turn back pages to try to keep track of all the "colored" characters.

What does Joe Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I did enjoy his voice. Nice, deep and gravely. The women's voices...well, harder to pull off, but he did a good job of that, too.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I"m sorry. I've never been so disappointed in any book or audio book. I have to honestly say no. I truly felt like this was a total waste of my time. I'm struggling to get through the last story and may not finish. I just had to say something.

Any additional comments?

I did listen to the audio sample and it was so different from the actual book. It does illustrate how detailed the narrative story is written (which also does go on and on a bit), but it doesn't include any of the dialogue that was so maddening to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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apparently I'm too normal

I didn't finish the trilogy. I pushed through 1 and gave up on two. I apparently am not intellectual enough because basically I just can't figure out the purpose of this extremely obtuse writing style. I wonder if the rave reviewers were like the characters in The Emperor's New Clothes- they thought that if they didn't get it they were ignorant. well, in my case, ignorance is bliss. this is the first time I have never finished a book- ever! I'm 45 and I read over 50 books a year on average.

1 person found this helpful

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Hook, Line, Not a Sinker

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

This book hooked me at first, and the story line I found interesting completely got left on the sideline as the book progressed. Still time well spent, but not the best time I've spent.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not sure yet

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator's voice was a little to easy to tune out at time.

Do you think The New York Trilogy needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Its a trilogy. No more necessary.

1 person found this helpful

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I don’t get it

Everyone raves about this dreck but I don’t understand why. It is just boring and awful

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Intriguing but at times goes off on less interesting tangents

Paul Auster is a masterful story teller and this trilogy takes you on twists and turns that leave you wondering what it’s all about long after finishing the books.

The narrator does a wonderful job and has just the right tone. Throughout each of the parts, there are themes that mirror each other and you’re never sure what it all means or where it all leads. This trilogy would be brilliant for a book club that you could have endless in depth conversations any.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Grace
  • 05-17-10

Not very enjoyable

I found the stories in this trilogy to be muddled hodgepodges of different genres, all pushed together to 'explore' the character' (or author's) angsty need to find themselves. I know this is supposed to be a literary classic, and possible the allusions just went over my head, but I found it boring and could not care about any of the characters, all of whom seemed self-obsessed, whiny, and slightly unhinged. The reader was okay, although I got worried during the long passage where Peter Stillman has a monologue, as it was delivered in a really strange voice. This did seem to fit with the description of the voice though, so I suppose he was just trying to do the text justice.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Andrea Edan
  • 06-18-20

An original take on the detective story

I think that Paul Auster is probably a Marmite sort of writer. Personally, I love his books and this trilogy of stories, published in 1987 is almost an academic exercise. Certainly the second story is, whereby the characters have colour names and are given very little depth other than their position in the "story". Although these stories can certainly serve as basis for literary debate, they are, nevertheless, good readable stories with a beginning, middle and end. Essential for any story, really. The loose link between the stories is enjoyable.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Bluesview
  • 05-25-14

Wonderful!

Why has no one else reviewed this; it is really wonderful, both Paul Auster's writing and Joe Barrett's reading - I found it totally absorbing and enchanting.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Sararara
  • 12-16-20

It’s all very meta but is it a good read?

City of Glass- the first book in the trilogy- is loosely divided into three parts.
The opener reminds me of Haruki Murakami and is fairly lucid, albeit a detective story viewed through the looking glass.
The middle part is more Umberto Eco with lots of word play and literary references.
The final part I found less engaging as the plot disintegrates, becoming a rumination on the nature of being.
Many people have written essays on the book’s postmodern brilliance, since it was published in 1985.
However, I would have liked a really clever resolution that subverted established literary forms but also, importantly, provided a satisfying conclusion.
And now I need some light relief before diving into the next two books.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Maria
  • 02-17-11

Simply remarkable

This is probably one of the hardest text to read, yet it is superbly done as an audio book! Paul Auster's brilliant writing is coming alive thanks to this fantastic rendition.
Well done, thank you!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ms T
  • 12-30-18

Old school private investigation

I really like Paul Auster’s writing style - detail heavy and full of intricacies and nuance - and this book of three stories is no exception. The three tales are loosely connected which adds another dimension to the overall complexities. Unusual and highly engaging, I really enjoyed these old school private investigation stories.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sam Roebuck
  • 05-29-14

Well read, well written, but very, very slow

If I'm honest, Joe Barret's is a safe pair of hands, and his reliable narrative carries this novel. Paul Auster's use of language is sound, and most of the plotting is acceptable, even a little clever in places, but the overall novel itself falls an awful long way short of living up to those aspects.

I would expect the three short stories involved to cleverly intertwine, the actions in one causing unexpected effects in the others. They don't do this to any significant degree, if at all They stand alone, and none are particularly engaging. But the worse thing is the pace. It seems to have been drawn out, sometimes a little painfully, to fit into the page count. I was waiting for it to end, and never really felt it did. It just sort of stopped.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-08-22

Could have been a short story

Though the mood of the novels is well created, I found myself wishing the novel to be over when I was half way through. The same theme could have been explored in a shorter piece and by the third novel I found myself having little curiosity for the outcome, and wanting to speed up to finish so I can move on to a more interesting story.

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  • annie
  • 11-28-21

Delicious

A delightful read - clever, imaginative and beautifully written.

I agree with a previous reviewer who likened Auster to Marmite - you are seldom indifferent. Well, as my first Auster experience it took a couple of chapters but then it quickly became addictive! And it will require a second read to 'get' some of the nuances.

And... I rate books rather critically, and 5 stars are rarely given, the book has to be exceptional. So don't be put off by my rating it at only 4 stars; this is a 'nearly exceptional' book. And the narrator reads it beautifully - very sympathetic to the spirit and character of the novel.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Hyperspacial
  • 08-06-21

said nothing to me

I listened to the whole book hoping for something more but I have to say.
of all the tea, in all the world this was not my cup.

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  • JW Sydney
  • 08-06-22

A masterpiece!

How did I not discover this sooner? I will read, listen, read again. And now I must read more Auster (and Cervantes).

.