4 3 2 1

4 3 2 1

Astonishing, a masterpiece, Paul Auster’s greatest, most satisfying, most vivid and heartbreaking novel -- a sweeping and surprising story of inheritance, family, love and life itself.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, i...

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Title:4 3 2 1
Author:Paul Auster
Rating:
ISBN:1627794468
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:866 pages

4 3 2 1 Reviews

  • Thomas
    Feb 16, 2017

    Βαθμολογία:

    Υπάρχουν ογκώδη βιβλία γεμάτα δράση με πέντε, δέκα, είκοσι πρωταγωνιστές απαραίτητοι για να γεμίσουν τόσες εκατοντάδες σελίδες, και υπάρχει το

    όπου περιστρέφεται εξ ολοκλήρου γύρω από έναν μοναδικό χαρακτήρα, του οποίου η ζωή σπάει σε τέσσερα διαφορετικά κομμάτια που το καθένα ακολουθεί τη δική του πορεία, και ενώ δεν πρόκειται για pageturner εσύ βρίσκεις τον εαυτό σου να κρέμεται από κάθε λέξη αυτού του μεγάλου λογοτέχνη, παρακολουθείς τον μικρό Archie να πεθαίνει και να ζε

    Βαθμολογία:

    Υπάρχουν ογκώδη βιβλία γεμάτα δράση με πέντε, δέκα, είκοσι πρωταγωνιστές απαραίτητοι για να γεμίσουν τόσες εκατοντάδες σελίδες, και υπάρχει το

    όπου περιστρέφεται εξ ολοκλήρου γύρω από έναν μοναδικό χαρακτήρα, του οποίου η ζωή σπάει σε τέσσερα διαφορετικά κομμάτια που το καθένα ακολουθεί τη δική του πορεία, και ενώ δεν πρόκειται για pageturner εσύ βρίσκεις τον εαυτό σου να κρέμεται από κάθε λέξη αυτού του μεγάλου λογοτέχνη, παρακολουθείς τον μικρό Archie να πεθαίνει και να ζει, να γίνεται παιδί, έφηβος, φοιτητής, να αναζητεί την ταυτότητά του, αυτόν τον αθλητή, δημοσιογράφο, συγγραφέα, που ερωτεύεται και απογοητεύεται σε μια Αμερική όπου βιώνει μια σειρά ιστορικών γεγονότων όπως τη δολοφονία του Κένεντι, τις φυλετικές ταραχές, τις διαμαρτυρίες κατά του πολέμου του Βιετνάμ, το μπλακάουτ της Νέας Υόρκης, και συναντάς όλα τα γνωστά επαναλαμβανόμενα μοτίβα του Auster, τον θάνατο, την απώλεια, την πτώχευση, τον πρωταγωνιστή συγγραφέα που μεταναστεύει στο Παρίσι, το παράδοξο, την ιστορία μέσα στην ιστορία και φυσικά αυτές τις πλούσιες μακροσκελείς προτάσεις που πηγαίνεις με αγωνία από κόμμα σε κόμμα ξέροντας ότι στο τέλος θα πει κάτι συγκλονιστικό που θα κάνει την καρδιά σου να σφιχτεί κι εσύ δε θες να φτάσεις στην τελεία, δε θες να φτάσεις γενικότερα στο τέλος, αφού έχεις καταλάβει προ πολλού ότι πρόκειται για το βιβλίο της χρονιάς, ένα αριστούργημα.

  • Lisa
    Jan 01, 2017

    I received this huge, 866 page Advance Reading Copy a few weeks ago but decided to save it for my end of the year vacation (stay-cation). And I'm so glad I did because once I started it, I wanted, needed, to stay immersed in it.

    The novel is the coming of age story of Archie Ferguson and starts off with 4 different versions of his life. Set mostly in New York and New Jersey, It is also about the political and cultural and social climate of the 1950s and 1960s.

    I had 4 or 3 or 2 or 1 running stor

    I received this huge, 866 page Advance Reading Copy a few weeks ago but decided to save it for my end of the year vacation (stay-cation). And I'm so glad I did because once I started it, I wanted, needed, to stay immersed in it.

    The novel is the coming of age story of Archie Ferguson and starts off with 4 different versions of his life. Set mostly in New York and New Jersey, It is also about the political and cultural and social climate of the 1950s and 1960s.

    I had 4 or 3 or 2 or 1 running stories of Archie in my head for ten days and was deeply involved in all of them. It is fascinating the way the different Archies sometimes merged in my mind. Because really - although different events changed him in different ways, all of the Archies were

    the same person. The idea of a novel following more than one possible life path isn't new -I can think of two that I've read - "Aquamarine" by Carol Anshaw and "The Post-Birthday World" by Lionel Shriver - but Auster's 4-3-2-1 structure is more interesting and added a level of tension and foreboding.

    I enjoy reading doorstoppers during my winter vacation. Last year I read, "A Little Life," and the year before, "The Goldfinch." Although "4-3-2-1" is not a page-turner like those novels, it is very, very compelling. The narrative pace is necessarily slowed down because of the way Auster writes. His novel is a discourse about ideas and literature and film and art. A few times it got bogged down by lectures, i.e. about the history of Columbia's student protests, but I am willing to be patient with Auster. And it was worth it. A

    book.

  • Hannah
    Feb 07, 2017

    What a wonderful and thought provoking book. It is proving nearly impossible for me to write a coherent review of a book this large (both in page count and in scope), so I am going to concentrate on a few things that I kept thinking about since finishing it.

    This is Archie Fergusen's story, told in four alternating timelines. Auster uses this premise for a thoughtful meditation on what makes us us and how little changes lead to different paths. I adored the way Auster lets this play out and shows

    What a wonderful and thought provoking book. It is proving nearly impossible for me to write a coherent review of a book this large (both in page count and in scope), so I am going to concentrate on a few things that I kept thinking about since finishing it.

    This is Archie Fergusen's story, told in four alternating timelines. Auster uses this premise for a thoughtful meditation on what makes us us and how little changes lead to different paths. I adored the way Auster lets this play out and shows how different versions of people are possible, if key events turn out differently. While I think Fergusen is the weak point when it comes to characters (he can be a bit insufferable at times), I absolutely loved his wonderful mother. No matter what time line, no matter what happens, she is unwavering in her love and devotion to her son. Some of the other supporting characters are brilliant as well; his father while difficult is a great and fully fleshed out character, Amy Schneidermann is an enigma and female character that is allowed to be flawed and human, and Fergusen's grandfather was also wonderfully imagined. They are all allowed to make mistakes, to grow from those mistakes and to be complete people - even if they are not the focus of this grand work.

    While the book is very long, it never felt indulgent in its wordiness - the story Auster wants to tell can only be told in this grand a scope, even the in-depth analyses of baseball games were necessary. This is a rare achievement in a genre where I often prefer tighter works to Dickensian ones.

    It is really interesting to see what developments Auster sees as inevitable and which parts of Fergusen's life change depending on the time line. In all four versions, Fergusen is at the core a writer. The genre he writes or the way he ends up as a writer vary, but nevertheless he is always a man of words. While this is fixed, the people he meets and the relationships he forges with them are varied and change immensely depending on how his life turns out. Given how close the biographical cornerstones are to Auster's own biography this can be seen a profound insight into what he considers most important. Which is why, at the core, this beautiful work of art is above everything else a wonderfully believable and moving love letter to the Arts (be it literature, music, theatre, poetry, photography or fine arts) and their power. This is for me the great achievement of this book and the reason why it kept me engaged while reading and thinking about it when I had to put the book away.

    ____

    I received an arc curtesy of NetGalley and Faber and Faber in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for that!

  • Paromjit
    Jan 23, 2017

    This is a wonderful and intelligent in depth look at the 4 different lives of the jewish Ferguson born in March 1947 to Stanley and Rose. Set in New York and New Jersey, it is a novel full of details, it begins with giving us the disparate backgrounds and families of store owner Stanley and photographer Rose. It charts the relationship between Stanley and Rose and their heartbreaking attempts to have a child. Once Ferguson is born, we are given a non linear but simultaneous life trajectory struc

    This is a wonderful and intelligent in depth look at the 4 different lives of the jewish Ferguson born in March 1947 to Stanley and Rose. Set in New York and New Jersey, it is a novel full of details, it begins with giving us the disparate backgrounds and families of store owner Stanley and photographer Rose. It charts the relationship between Stanley and Rose and their heartbreaking attempts to have a child. Once Ferguson is born, we are given a non linear but simultaneous life trajectory structured in distinct episodes for each Ferguson.

    It made me laugh when the first young Ferguson has every intention of marrying his mother! What Auster does is bring home how each different decision and event changes the life of Ferguson through an intense and tumultuous period of American social and political history of the 1960s up until the early 1970s. So we get the awareness of the fate of the Rosenbergs, the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the protests in which Ferguson takes part.

    I found it difficult to remember which Ferguson is which at times, partly my fault but partly because whilst Ferguson has different lives, he is essentially the same person. He is a writer in every version of his life, his politics are progressive, and Amy is the girl he gets involved with albeit with differing results. He dwells on the nature of money and whether it should necessarily dictate that the family should therefore move into a bigger house just because they could. Auster captures the raw energy, vitality and intensity with which the young live their lives and the central role of and obsession with sex. I loved the cultural references such as the books and movies that marked the period. Different events in the family mark each Ferguson, such as the death of his father in a arson attack on the store. One Ferguson experiences an early death as a result of a lightning storm.

    This is a very long and ambitious novel which might not be to everyone's taste and there are some extremely long sentences in it. I loved it, although it is not perfect and there are parts which tended to ramble a little too much. The prose is beautiful and I found the narrative a gripping read most of the time. Near the end, Auster informs us why the novel was structured as it is. Elements of the novel have been informed by the autobiographical details of the author's life. Characters from his previous novels make an appearance in this book. Auster is connecting his life's work and life brilliantly in this novel. This is essentially the story of the life and times of Paul Auster. A highly recommended read. Many thanks to Faber and Faber for an ARC.

  • Andrew Smith
    Jan 23, 2017

    I’ve read quite a bit of Auster’s work over the years, mainly his novels but also some of his non-fiction output too. I’ve imbibed quite a bit of biographical detail in this time from books such as

    and

    and consequently I can see that a good deal of the content herein is based on the author’s own passions and experiences. A quick list would throw up his love of novels, poetry, films and baseball, his college education at

    I’ve read quite a bit of Auster’s work over the years, mainly his novels but also some of his non-fiction output too. I’ve imbibed quite a bit of biographical detail in this time from books such as

    and

    and consequently I can see that a good deal of the content herein is based on the author’s own passions and experiences. A quick list would throw up his love of novels, poetry, films and baseball, his college education at Columbia and his time spent in Paris where he lived in a top floor maids room. But there are other elements too, such as a real life incident he’s talked about a good deal in which, at the age of fourteen, a young boy next to him was struck by lightening and killed.

    So is this book just a big biographical tome? No, its much, much more than that. The novel tells the story of four parallel lives of Archibald ‘Archie’ Ferguson, born of Russian-Jewish descent in New Jersey in 1947. Given the same start point for each of the four lives it follows that the paths diverge as a result of random events which lead each each Archie to follow a different route. All the Archies are interested in films, sport, politics and above all books – in fact they all aspire to become writers. There are actually many similarities with regard to the lives lived, such as some of the people they meet and a number of events that impact all of their lives, but the relationships between characters is different and Archie’s involvement in the common events and their impact on him deviate significantly. The result is we have four different stories, each using the same timeline, broadly the same geography and many of the same characters.

    Some of the routes Archie takes are down to blind luck - good or bad - but at other times it’s subtler: often the path is influenced by the brilliantly observed interactions with and behaviours of people who surround him. Each tale is told in alternating chapters, so we get to see four versions of a small section of his life before repeating the process. If this sounds like there could be repetition, then that’s because there is – of some key events. But remember that we see these events through different eyes, each with an altered involvement in the given occurrence. At some points it does feel like the chosen structure slows progress to a crawl, but any reservations I have about this are more than offset by the pure enjoyment I got from the author’s prose. This man can certainly write!

    If, like me, you think you’ve missed out on many of the literary works that you you feel - or have been told - you should have read then there is a veritable crib sheet of titles here. In fact, one of the Furguson’s has a list of one hundred books he must read drafted for him. I’m not sure I’ll get to many (if any) of these but curiosity may drive me to seek out at least one or two. The fact is that Auster’s love of the written word leaps off the page. This is a book for lovers of books.

    It a huge book, at nearly nine hundred pages, and therefore it’s a significant enterprise for any reader to take on. However, it’s written in a straightforward style and as long as readers can keep track of the four storylines (I kept notes) then I feel there’s nothing off-putting here. Ok, there are some very long sentences, with quite a few words I’d never come across before, but I really did feel that the narrative flow was well controlled. The inventiveness and imagination demonstrated by Auster will come as no surprise to seasoned readers of his books and there are some brilliant thoughts and insights on all sorts of issues, literary works and on life in general. And above all, I became so invested in the lives of Ferguson that I became truly emotional when each tale had run its course. A good read? No, it's more than that – a masterpiece as far as I’m concerned.

    My thanks to Faber and Faber and NetGalley for providing an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Arah-Lynda
    Jan 28, 2017

    I have a feeling that this novel is going to be a fabulous success.

    It is about a Jewish family living in New Jersey or more specifically about their son Ferguson. The reader is given insight into four different versions of Ferguson's life. Each decision made by his parents or himself results in a different outcome, hence a different life path or portrayal of Ferguson's life.

    That is the bare bones of the nature of this novel. It is a huge tome of a book, weighing in at almost 900 pages. I confe

    I have a feeling that this novel is going to be a fabulous success.

    It is about a Jewish family living in New Jersey or more specifically about their son Ferguson. The reader is given insight into four different versions of Ferguson's life. Each decision made by his parents or himself results in a different outcome, hence a different life path or portrayal of Ferguson's life.

    That is the bare bones of the nature of this novel. It is a huge tome of a book, weighing in at almost 900 pages. I confess the story, as well written as it is, never really grabbed me. Still I persevered and made it to the 20% mark before I abandoned the effort altogether.

    I suspect this is a case of right book/ wrong reader.

    My sincere thanks to Faber & Faber, Paul Auster and netgalley for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this novel.

  • Sam
    Jan 31, 2017

    I was conflicted about reviewing

    : on the one hand, Paul Auster shows incredible talent and engaging storytelling, fully immersing us into the broad strokes of the four different lives of Archibald Ferguson, and the intricate, fascinating details that form each version of Ferguson's life, touching on art, film, language, translation, Ivy league educations, baseball, basketball, the siren call of Paris, having money, not having money, the Woman (Amy Schneiderman), other women and men to lo

    I was conflicted about reviewing

    : on the one hand, Paul Auster shows incredible talent and engaging storytelling, fully immersing us into the broad strokes of the four different lives of Archibald Ferguson, and the intricate, fascinating details that form each version of Ferguson's life, touching on art, film, language, translation, Ivy league educations, baseball, basketball, the siren call of Paris, having money, not having money, the Woman (Amy Schneiderman), other women and men to love, and the varying versions of the Ferguson clan and especially his parents Stanley and Rose. When the novel is good, it is great: witty, funny, charming, hitting character and plot points macro and micro with ease and precision, and always invoking an accurate but also engaging sense of time and place as we watch Ferguson grow up in the 40s, 50s and 60s in New Jersey and New York (depending on the version) and struggle with his identity, the Vietnam War, Antisemitism, the Civil Rights Movement, racism, the Kennedy election and assassination, white flight, and the hope and disillusionment and fracturing of society during the 60s especially. All of Fergusons' family and friends are well drawn, though I most loved his mother Rose Adler (in every version of Ferguson) and his wisecracking, brilliant cousin Noah Marx (in version 4). There was much to admire, and much to love for the majority of the novel.

    On the other hand, the book threw me for fits with its pacing. It took me a bit to work through the first 100 or so pages of set up, the backdrops of the Ferguson and Adler lineages detailed but not flowing or clicking for me. But then, sunk into little Ferguson's various childhoods, I was off and devouring each saga up through Ferguson's graduation and moving on (in many versions) to college. Then, around page 600, Ferguson 1 gets derailed in a major student protest at Columbia University in the late 1960s, and the momentum I'd had was lost. The book recovered, as we moved on to see what the other versions of Ferguson got into, but that chapter for Ferguson 1 was long, unwieldy, and worse yet uninteresting. And overall, I don't know that I love the writing of Paul Auster. The brilliance can't be denied, but he's also prone to writing extremely long, run-on sentences, that meander and turn to the point that I would occasionally lose the major focus of the thought. It sometimes read like stream of consciousness inserted into these epics of the Fergusons, which

    . I felt that there was definitely some extra, less meaningful content that could have been removed entirely to keep the pacing tighter, and in general appreciate an author who is a bit more choosy with word choice and sentence structure in literary fiction: some of the writing felt unintentional, versus say how I felt about the writing of Michael Chabon's

    or Kate Atkinson's

    , the hybrid of which could be

    .

    I don't think this is a read for everyone, and indeed while it delighted me and I enjoyed reading it on the whole and was engaged with Auster's talent, it also irritated me, occasionally bored me and really forced me to work to finish major parts. But again, when it is good, it is great, and for that, I'd award it

    .

  • Lucy Banks
    Feb 10, 2017

    I'm a big fan of Paul Auster, so was expecting

    things from this book... and I'm delighted to report, I was not disappointed.

    It's a weighty tome (all 860 pages of it) and not the easiest of reads, but is so incredibly satisfying, not to mention thoroughly addictive once you get started, that it deserves nothing less than a full five star rating.

    I'm a big fan of Paul Auster, so was expecting

    things from this book... and I'm delighted to report, I was not disappointed.

    It's a weighty tome (all 860 pages of it) and not the easiest of reads, but is so incredibly satisfying, not to mention thoroughly addictive once you get started, that it deserves nothing less than a full five star rating.

    Initially, the book seems like a straightforward narrative about a Jewish family arriving in New York. However, it swiftly becomes apparent that there's way more going on here. The book follows Archie Ferguson, who starts as a young lad and ends up as a fully grown man, but throughout the story, we're not just introduced to one Ferguson, but four possible versions of him.

    It's a similar concept to

    , but there's so much more to it than the proverbial 'What If' question. It's an exploration of character, of wondering how much of who we are is determined by what happens to us throughout our lives. It's also somewhat mind-bending, especially the end (which I won't spoil for you).

    You can see my full review -

    .

    Overall, a spectacular achievement, and definitely a modern classic.

  • Elyse
    Feb 20, 2017

    1 2 3 4.......

    .....Archibald Isaac Ferguson.....( 900 pages about this guy)

    .....Archi....(nope, 900 pages about THIS guy)

    .....Ferguson....(no, THIS guy)

    .....Archi Ferguson.....(I lied... this story is about THIS guy)!!!!

    4 3 2 1 .......BLAST OFF!!!

    This novel comes with 'surgeon general warnings': Its risky business being 'under-the-influence' of "4 3 2 1". It's possible to get an unbearable

    headache, have insomnia, muscles might ache, and a reader might begin to feel fatigue AFTER the first 22 h

    1 2 3 4.......

    .....Archibald Isaac Ferguson.....( 900 pages about this guy)

    .....Archi....(nope, 900 pages about THIS guy)

    .....Ferguson....(no, THIS guy)

    .....Archi Ferguson.....(I lied... this story is about THIS guy)!!!!

    4 3 2 1 .......BLAST OFF!!!

    This novel comes with 'surgeon general warnings': Its risky business being 'under-the-influence' of "4 3 2 1". It's possible to get an unbearable

    headache, have insomnia, muscles might ache, and a reader might begin to feel fatigue AFTER the first 22 hours of listening to Paul Auster....( as steamy awesome as Paul Auster is!!!!). Our brain begins to comedown from the euphoric excitement as the readers-drug-stimulant begins to wane.

    Even though the 'Excitement-High', is an escapable part of the reading journey ...

    4 3 2 1 is a phenomenal an unforgettable TRIP!!! Overall: A WONDERFUL AUDIOBOOK experience!!!

    TRUE CONFESSIONS FROM a 4 3 2 1 'devotee'....'junkie'....'fanatic'.....

    I feel like I've been married to two men with the name 'Paul' for the past few weeks. My husband, Paul, started to get a little annoyed at Paul #2. He was ready for 'the guest' to go home!! I have no idea why MY PAUL turned off Paul Auster when he was telling us about Archie writing about Baseball for his High School paper in New Jersey.

    Why wasn't MY PAUL jumping up and down with excitement? Had 'my Paul' been in the room listening to a scene when Archie was at Camp Paradise, believe me, he would not have turned off the audiobook!

    THIRTY NINE PLUS hours of listening to an audiobook- no matter how sexy - charming - and AWESOME my new -audio-husband was.... and no matter how ENGAGING it was to follow the life of Ferguson- his family- his passions - his relationships - his hygiene and eating habits - his sex life - and his love for Amy Schneiderman-- 39 hours is a LOT OF TIME OUT OF A PERSON'S life!!!

    My original plans were to spend hours listening while hiking the trails. However -- unexpectedly mother-nature played a trick on California. It's only stopped raining for about 2-3 hours 'total' in the past month. I had no idea I would become a house- prisoner audiobook listener. So, I re-adjusted my plans.

    So... what do I think is so wonderful about 4 3 2 1?

    Honestly .... spending as much time as I did with this book- almost 40 hours - feels like a love affair. Ferguson was born in March, 1947. The family richness engages us at the beginning.....

    ......The writing IS gorgeous. Paul Auster reads gorgeously!!!

    ......This book has EVERYTHING.....I see a mini series..... a terrific television drama!!!

    ......I have a few 'golden/box' favorite parts. Some of the stories are soooo darn good that it's that drug-effect again.....a satisfying high...

    ......So that when other parts of this book were good -- but not earthshaking--I noticed I was waiting for another RUSH. I was 'hooked' on the desserts hidden in this novel.

    .....The BEST advantage for investing long hours to the audiobook: I spent an enormous amount of my OFF time 'thinking' about the characters and the relationships in this story. I enjoyed this process too.

    .......Much to love .....in no particular order:

    The history of this entire book - Furguson's mind, his intelligence, his independent thinking where it mattered, ( trusting himself over a teacher and adults more than half his age). Lots of passion about books, writing, poetry, art, music, movies .... ( the entire experience of sitting in the balcony eating hot dogs and popcorn with his mom for hours), photography, ( a special photograph of Ferguson), accidents, sickness, death, affairs, divorce, re-marriages, camp, school, sports, college, the war, drinking, drugs, schools, politics, Jews, foods, Jewish foods, Rose and Stanley ( Archie's parents), civil rights movement, New York Riots, the Kennedy assignation, Columbia University, journalism, race:,(black & white relationships equally), justice, bullying, lots of sex, friends of Archi really stand out - like Noah from his childhood and many others, Aunt Mildred was an interesting character... loved the grandparents, cousins and extended families.

    1965..... ( the year life got interesting and was changing),

    The humor was great and not forced, the sadness was real, the warmth was real, The first trip that Archi and Amy take to Paris is wonderful,

    Lots of academic appreciation and literature,

    This book gave me some nostalgia for trees.

    I LOVED the-"shoe-orgy" story, and "The elevator story.

    Archie's first book... ( an accomplishment with the deepest fulfillment ),

    Sunday mornings eggs, bagels, and the newspaper - good times!! , Saturday's with Amy were days I would enjoy.

    I also thought about Ferguson being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I thought about a few times in my own life where I felt the same thing..... A split second can change the direction of your life.

    The interview at the end of the audiobook with Paul Auster is heartwarming and interesting.

    An ambitious novel -- one that is best to read when - not - feeling rushed. Or why bother! There is much to enjoy in the same way we enjoy slow cooking. Savor the meal!!! Enjoy the get-a-way. It can feel every bit like a vacation - with HIGH moments - and quiet moments.

    4.99 stars!!!

  • Susanne Strong
    Feb 22, 2017

    3 stars.

    I think that I'm in the minority here. I didn't love this novel as most everyone else seemed to. I like the idea of this but I think that the concept v. the execution fell short. I found this to be the most exhausting book I have ever read and was completely spent after I was done reading it. I had to force myself to finish the last few hundred pages just so that I could find out what happened. For me, the concept of this book is absolutely brilliant. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster is an auspici

    3 stars.

    I think that I'm in the minority here. I didn't love this novel as most everyone else seemed to. I like the idea of this but I think that the concept v. the execution fell short. I found this to be the most exhausting book I have ever read and was completely spent after I was done reading it. I had to force myself to finish the last few hundred pages just so that I could find out what happened. For me, the concept of this book is absolutely brilliant. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster is an auspicious undertaking. However the actual execution of the book itself- was not as remarkable. I felt that a lot was lost in the actual writing of it.

    4 3 2 1 is the story of Archie Ferguson. However, it is not the story of just one Archie Ferguson. Imagine a boy named Archie living four parallel lives, this is that story.

    I think the first third of the book is the strongest and that the author did an incredible job providing a backstory for Archie, his parents lives, their relationship and Archie’s beginning. I will say that I was really impressed with how Paul Auster set out each different version of Archie – each personality was very distinguishable, even though they were inherently the same person.

    For me, however, after the first third of the book, my interest was lost. The incoherent rambling sentences of each version of this young man drove me insane. At first I thought Paul Auster was trying to convey that that was how a young teenager speaks, but as each version of Archie grew older, he continued to speak in the same manner rambling on about nothing and it made me crazy. I would think that certain versions of him, the writer; the journalist, would speak in shorter, more concise sentences and fully formed thoughts and that did not happen. I personally think the novel would have been better served if it had been cut by several hundred pages.

    Why did I even bother finishing it you ask? Simply because I wanted to find out what happened to each different version of Archie. And even though much of the book made me crazy, I'm glad I did.