The appeal of Auster's work is that of watching a good detective movie that knows it's a detective movie: self-conscious plots that cook. Narrative structures meander like their occasionally transient protagonists. Or they explode laterally like their New York City setting. Or they fold in on their genre novel conventions: a private eye's search for his private "I" contracting upon itself in a climax markedly beyond genre. It is not inappropriate to use the term Austerian in those moments when paranoia, fate and a man with a mysterious briefcase collide.