Book of the Week: ‘4321’

4 3 2 1

Paul Auster

2017, 941 pages



Paul Auster spins a sweeping tale of the four different fictional, simultaneous lives of one boy, Archibald Isaac Ferguson. “Ferguson” (as each Ferguson goes by) begins his life on March 3, 1947 in Newark, N.J., and from there, Auster takes Ferguson on four different life journeys that seem to be primarily impacted by a situation that each of Ferguson’s father (Stanley) reacts to differently within each Ferguson’s life path.

As the Fergusons navigate through the major events of the time (JFK’s assassination, the riots at Columbia, etc.) they are impacted by the same characters, each living out their own four, independent lives, turning the Fergusons in significantly different directions. Each chapter (after the first) is dedicated to a different Ferguson. This 941-page tome includes many long chapters for each Ferguson, so it can be difficult at times to pick up where each life path left off. But, their lives begin to become so radically different that following the storyline(s) gets easier as the Fergusons grow older.

I gave 4 3 2 1 five stars on Goodreads. It is well worth the commitment.

Nicole SchulzeConcord Public Library

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Author: Insider Staff

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