Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story by Paul Auster, 1990
The magic trick:
Listing in the opening paragraph three seemingly disparate elements of the story in order to pique the reader’s curiosity
Published in the New York Times by a journalist, it shouldnt be surprising then that “Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story” has an ace lead (or lede if you’re a journalism snob).
Auster lays out three curious elements of the story he’s about to tell: a lost wallet, a blind woman and a Christmas dinner. How do these three things figure into the same story? the reader wonders. Oh my goodness, how weird! I better read on to figure out!
It’s the 1990s equivalent to a click-bait headline in today’s world of online journalism, but there’s no denying it piques the reader’s curiosity. And that’s quite a trick on Auster’s part.
I heard this story from Auggie Wren. Since Auggie doesn’t come off too well in it, at least not as well as he’d like to, he’s asked me not to use his real name. Other than that, the whole business about the lost wallet and the blind woman and the Christmas dinner is just as he told it to me.