The “”I started looking at it, and I

The New YorkTrilogy is a work that needs unpacking. It is a multi-layered, incrediblycomplex, highly postmodern work.

It is in almost every aspect a ‘writerly’ textwhere the reader has to use his own experience to create meaning. Through usingBarthes’ five codes from S/Z and a general narratology approach, it isobviously apparent that how Auster challenges the established conventions ofdetective fiction. Alison Russell argues that the trilogy confirmsdeconstructionist philosophy. By gaining a relevant consensus, we come over tothe point that this is a work of poststructuralist anti-detective fiction, yet itis not confirmed that the novels ever sought to confirm deconstruction in anyway. Auster’s own response to Alison’s article is rather telling, “”I startedlooking at it, and I must tell you that my only response was to laugh; And Ilaughed, and I read a few pages, and I laughed some more, and then I put thething away and never finished it. Because the fact is that we are not allegedwith the word of Jacques Derrida, we never acknowledge his stuff at all” (Pace4). We might enter similar territory, and Auster would probably have just asgood of a laugh at this essay as Russell’s, yet Auster has put the author bothin and outside of his works.

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The author is clearly displayed, yet he fades awayin each one of the novels. Through relying on intertextuality very heavily, theauthor’s importance seems to fade away, and his debt to other writersincreases. As mentioned in the beginning, Barthes noted that in the new age, ‘thebirth of the reader’, would come at the cost of ‘the death of the author’.Postmodernism, with its many works with similarities to Auster’s, ultimatelygives us more of the ‘writerly texts’, something Roland Barthes very muchlonged for. With The New York Trilogy, we have an excellent example of acollection of novels when it is perhaps the reader, just as much as the author,who creates the meaning of the works.

If we one last time think of The NewYork Trilogy from a postmodern perspective, we could go back to whatHutcheon says about the postmodern parody. Auster’s three novels are clearparodies of the detective novel genre. Hutcheon’s definition, that “parody isrepetition with critical distance, which marks difference rather thansimilarity” (pace 6), fits very well. The New York Trilogy imitates thedetective novel in many instances, yet the differences between the trilogy andthe classic detective novel are more plentiful than the similarities.

In ATheory of Parody, Hutcheon sums up her argument by observing that thedemands on the reader of parody are high. She writes, “but the reader mustshare a certain amount of sophistication, if not skill, for it is the readerwho must effect the decoding of the superimposed texts by means of his or hergeneric competence. This is not a matter, as in intertextuality of a generalability to call upon what one has read; but rather, it is specific to theparticular text or conventions being parodied. Therefore, we can take pertinentargument. The New York Trilogy being a’writerly’ text even further. If The New York Trilogy is a postmodern parody,then a lot of responsibility lies on the reader because he or she has to knowof the conventions being parodied and create meaning out of the work of parodyas well.

  

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