4 3 2 1: A Novel
Archibald “Archie” Ferguson was born in 1947. His grandfather, Ichabod, came to the United States with an idea for a name, but in his garbled utterance, left his name up to Ellis Island officials. His father Stanley struggled and worked his way up, while his mother Rose had an easier road. Stanley and Rose married, but multiple miscarriages proved frustrating until the birth of Archie. Archie’s life would be colored by his imagination, which he used to make up a sibling, and by his grandmother teaching him to read and write. Archie is smart and would forge different paths: one that was cut short by an early demise, one as a sexually confused young man attempting to find his way, another as a boy having his baseball dreams cut short by a horrific accident, and the last as a boy whose adolescence is influenced by an early trauma. Each path is decorated with love, ambition, success, and heartbreak. Archie’s parents’ relationship evolves or dissolves in each chapter. The times change, and so does Archie.
4321 is a moving narrative of one young man’s life and the various turns life can have in store. Archie Ferguson makes for a empathetic protagonist as the reader roots for his success in life and love. Paul Auster has crafted a masterpiece in storytelling about life and fate. There is no mystery in what this book brings to the field of fiction. This is one of the first must-reads of 2017.
Henry Holt and Co.