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Due to its longstanding complexity, Paul Auster’s The New York Trilogy has been classed under a

number of different genres, including the self-discovery novel and the detective novel. Accordingly, this project
sets out to unveil a series of features contributing to its elusive generic identity. In keeping with this aim, we
have undertaken a two-fold analysis across the genres involved.

In connection with the detective novel, we have analyzed the varying levels of compliance with the
conventions of this literary genre and its different variations, such as the hard-boiled novel. We have had
recourse to the concept of prototypicality and generic integrity (Swales, 1990) in order to illustrate the different
instances in which the author takes liberties. Concerning the self-discovery novel, in turn, we have traced its
roots to 19th century American authors who seem to have shaped and influenced Paul Auster’s writing style.
An in-depth analysis of the main characters has also been conducted, with special attention to identity built-up
and the changes undergone throughout.

In conclusion, ascribing The New York Trilogy to a particular genre proves difficult, primarily because
it features many genre-rebelling instances which make it an original piece of work.