4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

For an old lecherous white guy, Paul Auster has, surprisingly, long been one of my favourite authors – except that I’ve never been able to get into the New York Trilogy, which is what he seems to be most well-known for.

In any case, when I heard he had a new book coming out – and his longest book yet by far – I knew it was going to be on my shelf sooner or later.

Although it might be hard to believe, I’ve really been trying my hardest to curb my book-buying habits, and to my credit I held off buying this handsome hardcover for a full two-and-a-half months after its release.

To be honest, I thought I was going to stick it out long enough to find it secondhand – but I made the fatal mistake of finding it as an audiobook and falling deeply in love with it. Quick premise: the same character lives out four separate lives in parallel, exploring how small choices affect a life narrative. It’s been done before, sure – think Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, but starring a middle-class Jewish white kid in the 60s instead of a strong female protagonist in WWII Europe. It’s more entertaining than it sounds, and tender, and heartbreaking, and really just fascinating all over.

So I bought it. In hardcover. Brand new. Sorry, wallet, but you know it had to happen sooner or later.

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