The main character in Paul Auster’s novel City of Glass is Daniel Quinn, a writer who becomes unexpectedly involved in a mystery. Quinn is mistaken for the private detective Paul Auster, an identity Quinn eventually accepts and finds more comfortable than his own.
Paul Auster turns out to be a writer, too, and not a detective, as Quinn had thought. Auster seems to have a lot in common with Quinn, and is living the life Quinn would have wanted to live, if his wife and son had not died. Although readers expect Auster to help Quinn and offer a solution to his problems, Auster in fact rejects Quinn at the end, and might be one of the reasons why Quinn decides to disappear.
Virginia Stillman is another important character. She is the wife of Peter Stillman, a young man with a traumatic childhood, whose father, named also Peter Stillman might now be trying to kill him. Quinn’s involvement with the Stillmans will lead to a dramatic change in his life and, ultimately, to the complete loss of his identity.
Other characters include the author, who only reveals himself at the very end of the novel. Max Work, the character and narrator of Quinn’s novels, is also worth discussing briefly.
Quinn seems to be mostly disconnected from other people even at the beginning of the story. However, the relationships he forms with the rest of the characters are worth mentioning, as they highlight his isolation.