Books to Read over a Long Winter Weekend
There's no better way to celebrate a day off than curling up
with one of these delectable new novels.
3 of 19
4 3 2 1
Henry Holt and Co.
Often set in New York City, Paul Auster's work has long tapped genre fiction as well as cerebral comedy, a Woody Allen–esque career on the page. 4 3 2 1, his mesmerizing new jigsaw puzzle of a novel, continues to push the narrative envelope—via a Jewish Everyman, Archie Ferguson, born, like the author, in New Jersey in 1947. Auster's magic trick here is to splinter Archie into four distinct characters whose lives diverge and intersect in devious, rollicking ways, reminiscent of Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. The Archies follow roughly the same chronology—a childhood marred by their fathers' sibling rivalries, college years tinged with romantic yearning and sexual experimentation—but each young man faces different ghosts and provocations. Prismatic and rich in period detail, 4 3 2 1 reflects the high spirits of postwar America as well as the despair coiled, asplike, in its shadows.
— Hamilton Cain