When it comes to books, who could be more credible than the librarians themselves? The votes for our subscribing librarians’ top favourite books for March have come in:
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster was voted number 1! Read on for gr‘s review of the novel.
This is a slog of over 800 pages – and I admit to cursing the first few hundred. But if you persevere, the genius of 4321 will open itself up to you.
This is the story of four possible lives – or rather, one life lived in four different ways. Archie Ferguson’s life diverges at a variety of points – each profoundly different. The essentials stay the same – such as his love of books, films and writing. In some he becomes a journalist, in others an author. There are varying degrees of success. The girl he loves floats through each narrative, and while the romance is doomed every time, in one he holds on to her for longer. Some of the same characters pop up in more than one of the storylines, sometimes in similar roles but at different times, as if they were meant to meet.
After getting through the early stages of the novel, which were confusing and repetitive, the narratives started to broaden and I was fascinated by what Auster explores. He imagines how different our lives can be due to the smallest decisions and how powerful the things and people we love are, regardless of the decisions we make. Each life conveys its own message and all of them are tied together in the last chapter.
It can be a challenge to keep track of every storyline and supporting character, as each of the four lives is told in sections, but this rewarding tale is well worth the hours and effort you will invest to make it a part of your reading history. Beautifully written and masterfully crafted.
4.5 stars – Faber rrp $32.99
Reviewed by Lauren Cook
Check it out in our gr March edition and librarians be sure to keep an eye out in the next e-newsletter to have your say in next month’s favourites.