“Fate in the sense of what was, of what happened to be. It was something like the word “it” in the phrase “it is raining” or “it is the night.” What that “it” referred to Quinn had never known. A generalized condition of things as they were, perhaps; the state of is-ness that was the ground on which the happenings of the world took place.”
City of Glass by Paul Auster could be described as a postmodern metaphysical deconstruction of the detective novel. I don’t really know what the words “postmodern,” “metaphysical,” or “deconstruction” mean, but I suspect that almost no one does aside from three English literature Ph.D. candidates. The rest of the world just uses those words to sound smarter than they really are. So, how to describe this book without resorting to (and probably misusing) technical (so vague that they’re nonsense) terms?
City of Glass is a strange book. On one level, it’s about an author that is mistakenly hired to act as a private detective with the task of following someone around in order to keep someone else safe. On another level, it’s about identity, the transformation of a person, the plight of the homeless, dehumanization, language, and the nature of writing. And on another level it’s about Don Quixote.