Or lets talk about, more specifically, his book The New York Trilogy
. Originally, the book was three seperate stories, City of Glass, Ghosts
, and The Locked Room
. Shortly after print, they were all merged into one hyperbook.
So you read one after the other, and up until about the second to last paragraph of the book itself, you're fairly sure that these stories have nothing to do with one another, other than being set in New York.
The stories are confusing at times, but the prevailing sense I got from the trilogy was that of loneliness. There is very little description of persons, as these are supposively detective novels, but there is a great deal of mental musing and reflection in the main characters. You get a sense of their thought process, and how it changes throughout, but very little of anyone else. You are very much isolated from the rest of the world, as I assume you only can be in a large city.
I think it was City of Glass
that disturbed me the most. The story is revealed to be the notes of the actual man, written by another. Althogether you have four other characters in the story, but none stay for longer than a chapter or two, and you are very much left with this man's thoughts. And they are very strange ones. Over the course of his story, he slowly goes mad, obsessed with a case he was hired to solve. I think I was physically cold when I read it, and for some reason was fighting down something like nausea.
Not to say that the story was bad. It wasn't. It was just discordant, and never really settled with you, a less jagged reaction similar to that which I experianced after I finished the Tawny Man
trilogy. It wasn't frustrating, since you never got passionate about the book. It truely was a very bloodless form of storytelling. But I was hooked nonetheless.
What I found perhaps strangest of all is that you never really understood anyone's motivations. They did insane, inexplicable things to themselves and others, and you cannot fathom why, any more than they can.
I would have to say that the stories are intelligent and engrossing, with a great deal of research put into elements of history, language, and psychology, and are extremely post-modern in style. But I'm not sure I would recommend them. They don't sit easy on the mind, and there really is no resolving them.
Perhaps its easier to read the graphic novel, City of Glass: The Graphic Novel
. I haven't, but maybe seeing it would settle things that would otherwise make your head itch on the inside.
I can't really gather any emotion towards the book, since it seems to discourage it.
If you want a book that both encourages and flattens thought, give this one a shot. But you have been warned.