Before Cassandra Clare’s City of Glass, there was Paul Auster’s. The first short installment of The New York Trilogy, City of Glass is both a mystery and an anti-mystery. The main character of the novel cranks out mystery novels like James Patterson, but admits that most such novels are poorly written and don’t involve the kind of higher thinking required with “literature.” They’re purely pleasure reading.
But City of Glass is both literature and mystery novel. As with all Auster novels, it is about more than its plot. Sure, there is a man named Stillman who locked his son in a dark room for most of his childhood and is now being released from prison. And yes, the main character, Quinn, is hired to follow Stillman in order to protect his horribly damaged son from harm. But these elements soon just become technicalities of the story instead of its meat.