Lack of Detective/Reader Relationship


Yeah, this book definitely messed with my mind, but I still enjoy it in a way. The narrator was definitely what made this experience more interesting for me as the mystery of their existence intrigues me. Actually, it’s more a mix of intrigue and yet confusion. As a matter of fact, this is actually the hardest blog post I had to make as whenever I tried to come up with some questions, they all seemed to fall flat somewhere, either with a lack of evidence, me essentially asking/screaming “WHAT? WHO? WHY?” at everything (which I know we all are wondering so that’s nothing new), an element that has been explained already, or just me spouting off some kind of insane convoluted theory on you guys and seeing if it would make any sense to you guys. Trust me guys, I want to spare you all from the last one.

Still, I managed to come up with some questions that we can talk about: the idea of how the detective and the reader are supposed to be going along the same plot together. In lecture, it was mentioned that we are supposed to identify ourselves with the detective as we try to solve the mystery/crime with the detective and feel a sense of victory when it’s solved depending on how much the reader is able to get right. With City of Glass and Quinn however, we end up just as lost, if not more so, than Quinn by the end of the story due to various reasons (the narrator we just find out exists, how we don’t know what happened to Quinn, etc.).

Thus, here are my questions:

It’s most likely intentional that we have been gradually more and more separated by Quinn with his multiple identities, him disappearing, and finding out this narrator exists during the last two chapters of the book that we don’t know who they are; so what’s the purpose of this separation? Does that leave the reader to bear the role of detective by themselves with what little knowledge they have like Quinn did with his mystery? Does this enforce the idea that this mystery is a lost cause for both Quinn and the reader or are there still possible solutions to some of the mysteries that the reader could at least partially come up with?

I highly doubt we’re all going to solve this crazy mystery, if it was ever intended to be solved at all, but it never hurts to speculate, right? Aside from the obvious headache of course.

One thought on “Lack of Detective/Reader Relationship

  1. Sorry for the belated comment! I think your question about why there is a separation between the reader and the detective in this novel is a good one, but a tough one at the same time. I think the novel is structured so that one feels at first like one is reading a normal detective novel–at first it feels like we’re in the head of Quinn, even if it’s not written from a first person perspective. And it feels like he has a mystery to solve (or at least, a crime to prevent…there isn’t much mystery he’s asked to solve). But then as things go along we become separated from him.

    But at the same time, he perhaps becomes more and more separated from himself. When the author/narrator first really intrudes into the text is on p. 173, when Quinn sits down across from the Stillmans’ apartment to watch it. Arguably, things start to really go downhill from there: he hardly eats, hardly sleeps, and by the end of this vigil he has become someone different (183). So perhaps we get distanced from Quinn as a detective at the same time that he becomes distanced from himself? And I suppose we aren’t following along as he solves a mystery or a crime because, well, the mystery or crime just disappears…

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