Character relationships


Relationship between Daniel Quinn and Paul Auster

Quinn and Auster have a lot in common

The relationship between Daniel Quinn and Paul Auster is an important element in the novel City of Glass by Paul Auster. The two characters have several things in common. They are both writers, they both enjoy the same reading material, and they can both express themselves during literary discussions. 

Also, at one point, Auster confesses that he would have reacted the same way Quinn had in connection to the unexpected phone call and the Stillman case (Chapter 10, 33%). Therefore, we could say that the two have a similar way of thinking

Quinn forms an idealistic image of Paul Auster

Before he meets Auster, Quinn considers him a convenient tool, a way for Quinn to shed his identity and become someone else. Quinn does not know anything about Auster, therefore he does not know what kind of life Auster leads or if he has experienced any tragedies like Quinn has. In this stage of the investigation, Auster helps Quinn escape from his own problems.

When Quinn believes that Auster is a detective, he forms an idealistic picture of Auster. Quinn sees Auster as competent, self-assured, and analytical. This is one of the reasons why he does not hesitate to finally go to Auster and confess what has happened when he loses Stillman.

Even when Quinn finds out that Paul Auster is, in fact, a writer, he still confides in Auster. Quinn tells Auster everything and even asks for advice, although he knows now that Auster has as much experience with crime as Quinn himself has.

Moreover, Quinn finds himself reluctant to leave Auster’s apartment. As they talk, he thinks Auster is “the first intelligent person he had spoken in a long time” (Chapter 10, 42%). This clearly shows that Quinn has formed a connection with Auster.

Quinn envies the life Auster has

When Quinn meets Auster’s wife and son, his attitude changes slightly. Now he realizes that Auster has everything Quinn has lost and feels envious:

It was too much for Quinn. He felt as if Auster was taunting him with the things he had lost, and he responded with envy and rage, a lacerating self-pity. Yes, he too would have liked to have this wife and this child, to sit around all day sprouting drivel about old books, surrounded by yo-yos and ham omelettes and fountain pens. (Chapter 10, 83%-92%)

The situation is probably even more painful for Quinn since he has taken on the persona of Paul Auster for the case and now realizes that he is not Auster, even though he desperately wishes he could have Auster’s life. This is also seen in the dream in which Quinn is walking with Auster’s...

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