4 3 2 1

4 3 2 1

Book - 2017
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The coming-of-age story of Archibald Ferguson. Set in the 20th century, this novel chronicles Archibald's maturation through four possible, yet divergent, life paths. Family fortunes, careers, and hometowns shift and change as Archibald's life unfolds across each metaphorical fork in the road. However, one constant remains: his love for Amy Schneiderman. By interweaving each chapter into a single narrative and playing with metafiction, Auster winks at the multitude of universes contained within a single story and slyly presents the reader with essentially four drafts of a novel in progress.
Publisher: [Toronto] : McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, a Penguin Random House Company, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780771009174
0771009178
Characteristics: 866 pages ;,25 cm
Alternative Title: Four, three, two, one

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r
ranvapa
Sep 29, 2018

Great start. Hard to put down early on. Loved finding out the premise.
Started dragging in the middle, but not sure if the characters could have been developed as well if the heft wasn’t there.
I had to put it down for a couple of weeks near page 600 for a break. Just too long.
Random: It was a little maddening to get into the protagonist‘s head as he thought about the purpose of some girls in some scenes. “boys will be boys?”

m
mareegallagher
Jul 29, 2018

848 pages! WTF

y
yvox
May 06, 2018

Nancy Pearl recommendation, FB 20180506

m
mblummichaels
Jan 12, 2018

A wondrous book!So glad i never gave up. A bit of advice if you get overwhelmed with the length--take a break of a few days and then go back to it.

Vero_biblio Jan 09, 2018

If you read the comments below, you will quickly figure out that people either love or hate this book. As for me, I loved it, as I spent got because of it many hours in the company of a good boy, Archie, whom I got really attached to. When the book ended, I was so sad to leave him behind -- indeed it took me a few days before I could start with another book and this *never* happens to me usually.

If you decide to go ahead and plunge into Archie's life/lives, here's a tip : keep notes. The four Archies start at the same point, but over the years they go through different experiences (rich/struggling parents, married/divorced, public/private school) etc and it can get confusing after a while. You'll thank me later :)

Last thing I wanted to mention : if you can, read it in the audio version. First of all, because 800+ is very long to read so do yourself a favour and let someone do the hard work for you. Second, because the narrator is the author himself, Paul Auster, who has a beautiful deep voice that I couldn't get tired of, even after the some 38 hours of recording it took to tell the whole book.

Do it! It's quite a trip.

ArapahoeAndrew Dec 11, 2017

A behemoth of a novel that is full of flowing prose and stories you'd hear at a relative's house.

The premise is interesting when you start (4 stories about how one person's life could have turned out, oh boy!) but by the end you are happy it is over and no longer find any joy in having to read 4 novels in 1.

That being said, for a work of literary fiction, it holds its own and offers poignant insights that are mixed into the banality of the everyday life of its young narrator in the mid-twentieth century. Not as soul-wrecking as something like Yanagihara's A Little Life.

d
ds80
Oct 22, 2017

Seriously lacking.

n
njon38
Oct 11, 2017

Not sure why this 866 page doorstopper is on the Mann Booker shortlist. It has been called a “quadrophonic bildungsroman” of, in my opinion a self-absorbed white male writer. The problem is that it’s hard to care about any of the four Archie Fergusons. I understand the writer’s conceit is the that core of your character is set early in life and is relatively impervious to various circumstances life throws at you. I have some admiration for Auster’s ability to take a set of facts and weave four different stories. The background of the story, the politics, the music, the zeitgeist, is the tapestry of of any baby boomer’s life, and yet he can’t manage but a cursory nod to the condition of women and the powerful changes that took place for us in this period. This book reminds me of why, as a baby boomer feminist, I consciously read fiction written only by women for a period of more than ten years.

p
PeterWMC
Sep 06, 2017

I gave up halfway through. Too much detail of baseball (who cares?) and of his time at summer camp etc. I soon realized I was skipping sections due to it being tedious. Not worth the effort.

y
yoshko
Aug 08, 2017

I love Paul Auster's work - but this was hard to get through. In fact, I didn't. Enough of big mid-century books with struggling immigrants and baseball. Time to move on, guy writers.

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clairemars
Jun 05, 2017

clairemars thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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