4 3 2 1 | Penguin Random House Canada

4 3 2 1

Publisher: Emblem Editions

A Globe and Mail Best Book

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

From the internationally celebrated author of The New York Trilogy comes a sweeping story of birthright and possibility, of love and the fullness of life itself, in which we follow the four parallel lives, loves, and obsessions of one remarkable boy during a time of great change in America.

On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson's life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson's story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid-twentieth-century America. A boy grows up -- again and again and again. As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, 4 3 2 1 is an unforgettable tour de force, the crowning work of this masterful writer's extraordinary career.


According to family legend, Ferguson’s grandfather departed on foot from his native city of Minsk with one hundred rubles sewn into the lining of his jacket, traveled west to Hamburg through Warsaw and Berlin, and then booked passage on a ship called the Empress of China, which crossed the Atlantic in rough...
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"Contemporary American writing at its best: crisp, elegant, brisk. It has the illusion of effortlessness that comes only with fierce discipline. As often happens when you are in the hands of a master, you read the next sentence almost before you are finished with the previous one."  —New York Times Book Review

"One of America's greatest living novelists." —The Observer (U.K.)

"Auster's ruminations on death, family, memory, and marriage are both poignant and delightful." —The New Yorker

"Paul Auster is definitely a genius." —Haruki Murakami

"It is the rarest of books – a masterpiece by a genius." —NJ.com

"Certain books leave readers feeling they know every minute detail of a character's inner life, as if they were lifelong companions and daily confidants. . . . and for readers who like taking the scenic route, getting taken for a ride will be worth it." —Time

" . . . the novel is distinguished by the surprisingly muted exploitation of its high-concept premise." —The New York Review of Books

"Audacious in conception and execution. . . . packed with cerebral and physical activity, meticulously wrought and written in prose so energised that, at times, it leaves one breathless." —Moira Lovell, bookslive.co.za

"A stunningly ambitious novel, and a pleasure to read. Auster's writing is joyful, even in the book's darkest moments, and never ponderous or showy. . . . an incredibly moving, true journey." —Michael Shaub, NPR

"4 3 2 1 features a distinctly different style than any [Auster has] written fiction in before. Breathless, propulsive, almost Kerouac-like in its tidal force." —The Brooklyn Rail

"We're lured in by Auster's fine-grained scene-setting and intrigue at his intentions." —Anthony Cummins, The Guardian

“Wonderfully clever . . . . 4 3 2 1 is much more than a piece of literary gamesmanship . . . . It is a heartfelt and engaging piece of storytelling that unflinchingly explores the 20th century American experience in all its honour and ignominy. This is, without doubt, Auster’s magnum opus. . . . A true revelation . . . One can’t help but admit they are in the presence of a genius.” ―Toronto Star

"Auster's narrative is never anything less than stylistically assured, his humour and humanity perfectly balanced." —The Independent

" . . . ambitious and sprawling . . . " —USA Today

"It's tempting to think about how our lives might have turned out if we had made different decisions, or if fate had dealt us a different hand. With this brilliantly rendered, intricately plotted epic, Auster has indulged that temptation and turned it into a magnum opus." —Columbia Magazine

"Auster adds a significant and immersive entry to a genre that stretches back centuries and includes Augie March and Tristram Shandy." —Publishers Weekly