Literary Perspectives

Detective novel

At first glance, City of Glass by Paul Auster can be considered a detective novel. Detective novels, also called crime novels or mystery novels, have very distinct characteristics, some of which can also be found in City of Glass.

Such novels center around a detective trying to solve a crime. There is usually a puzzle that the detective has to put together in order to achieve his objective. The detective can be a police officer or, more often than not, they are private investigators. In City of Glass, Daniel Quinn is mistaken for a private investigator and is tasked with protecting Peter Stillman from his father, who supposedly wants to kill him.

In some detective novels, there is also a seductive female character who is either the victim or pretends to be the victim and might in fact be the criminal. She often tries to seduce the detective and might have an af…


City of Glass and Don Quixote 

City of Glass relies heavily on intertextuality, which is a feature often used in postmodernist fiction. The most notable example is the parallels that City of Glass shares with the Spanish epic novel Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes.

Don Quixote is mentioned in City of Glass several times, and the extensive conversation Auster and Quinn have about it (Chapter 10, 50-75%) draws attention to its relevance. Moreover, the main character of City of Glass, Daniel Quinn, shares his initi…

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