Setting

Time period

The novel City of Glass by Paul Auster takes place around the same time the story was published, in the early 1980s. This can be seen from the mention of Mookie Wilson (Chapter 13, 33%), a baseball player who was active in the New York team The Mets in the 1980s. 

There are also references to the 1960s. The year 1960 is when Peter Stillman locks up his son (Chapter 7, 100%). According to Stillman’s book, the ‘60s also represents the period when the Tower of Babel should be rebuilt and people should find paradise again (Chapter 7, 100%). Stillman himself mentions the year 1969 in connection to this and reminds Quinn that this is the year man walked on the Moon for the first time (Chapter 9, 56%). 

The events in the novel take place over the course of several months. Quinn receives the phone call in May. He answers for the third time on May 19th, which he considers an important date, as it is his parents’ wedding anniversary and, according to his mother, the night Quinn was conceived (Chapter 1, 88%).

Quinn spends about two weeks following Stillman. He meets Auster on the second of June (Chapter 11, 0%) and leaves to keep watch in front of the Stillmans’ apartment the next day. He spends almost two months there, although he loses track of time and runs out of money in mid-August (Chapter 12, 42%). 

After Quinn discovers that Stillman has committed suicide, Peter and Virginia have disappeared, and he has been evicted from his home, he returns to the Stillmans’ empty apartment. We do not know how much time he spends there. What is certain is that Quinn is not there in February when Auster and the author search the apartment and find only Quinn’s notebook (Chapter 13, 100%).

It should be noted that Quinn has a rather strange perception of the passage of time. He is surprised, for example, to find out that he has spent over 14 hours at the Stillmans’ apartment during his first meeting with Virginia and Peter (Chapter 5, 0%).

Physical setting

New York as a place where people can lose their identity

The main physical setting in the novel City of Glass is New York City. When Qu...

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