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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017

Narrated by the award-winning author himself, this epic tale invites you into a world where the fate of a single person takes four different turns. Graceful and eloquent, it's a touching story of how a life can be dramatically altered by the choices you make.

Paul Auster's first novel in seven years. His greatest, most provocative, most heartbreaking, most satisfying work. A sweeping story of birthright and possibility, of love and the fullness of life itself. A masterpiece.

This audiobook contains exclusive bonus material in the form of an interview with the author.

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.

Paul Auster is the best-selling author of Winter Journal, Sunset Park, Man in the Dark, The Brooklyn Follies, The Book of Illusions and The New York Trilogy, among many other works. In 2006 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other honours are the Independent Spirit Award for the screenplay of Smoke and the Prix Medicis Etranger for Leviathan. He has also been short-listed for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (The Book of Illusions) and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (The Music of Chance). His work has been translated into more than 30 languages. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

©2017 Paul Auster (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"One of the great writers of our time." ( San Francisco Chronicle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Ok story but long and dreary narration

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I usually like a good saga and the idea of decisions changing a life's direction was interesting. I ploughed through the book but would not read again.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 4 3 2 1?

None. Maybe not being American did not help. Lots of references to American sports people and very localised subjects I did not fully understand

What didn’t you like about Paul Auster’s performance?

Mono.tone. Dull. Would have been much better served by a decent narrator

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Lovely characters but not a page turner

Beautifully read by the author. He has an amazing voice.
The 4 versions of the same character gets a little bit confusing and it's hard to tell which one is which. It's an interesting idea for a book using the parallel lives of the same character to explore all the possibilities it could hold but it's a little disappointing that the characters paths all lead in similar directions eg they're all writers. The author also goes off subject often with books within books within books and large sections about the history and politics. A whole chapter is a short story the lead character wrote about two shoes called Frank and Hank, which is a lovely short story but is a distraction in an already long book. Well written with lovely characters but not a 'page turner'

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lara
  • Victoria, Australia
  • 12-09-2017

I got there in the end!

I really liked the premise for the story as well as the narrators voice. I only listen in my car and I started listening to this on my uni break when I was driving less, so it took me about 2 months to finish it!!! I am a bit sad that it's over now... Archie has been my companion for a while.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms
  • 19-05-2017

Brilliant book. genius Auster as usual!

i loved this complex novel once I worked out how to follow the different versions of the same boy.