I first read this years ago, and my memory of it was as a 4 or 5 star book, but this time I'm going to drop it to 2. My thoughts on this reading was that it read a lot like reading Alan Moore's Watchmen, which most people would think is a compliment, but I don't. Like Watchmen, this book spends an inordinate amount of time being clever, and that cleverness is an impediment to the story. There are only so many clever things to do with the art before a reader starts to look to the cleverness, and look away from the story. The "cleverness quotient" on this work was exceeded by about page twenty...past that point it was art for art's sake, rather than art for the story's sake. It was like a child doing yet another trick, screaming "Look at me, look at me, look at me!" Shame, really, because Mazzucchelli is one of my "giants" of the comic art form, but here, like Alan Moore did in Watchmen, he's just exercising his art form, rather than exercising the story.Jason Owen
In hindsight, it would have been more wise to read the actual novel first. While the story is thoroughly engaging, the adaptation relies heavily on a more antiquated comic form, using much of the panel space for captions to advance the story. But I honestly don't see Karasik and Mazzucchelli able to get around this with Auster's narration, theological theorizing, and what I think are long detours into metaphysics. And actually, there may be an argument made that their artistic approach was purposeful. The page structure rarely veers from a 9-panel block setting and the color is all black and white. The artists seem to have wanted a purely minimalist format to the images themselves so as not to dilute or distract from the words on the page. It will be an interesting comparison once I finally get around to reading the novel itself.David Schwan
A dark and psychological story. The main character writes detective novels and is asked to be a detective and investigate something. A surreal story unfolds and our detective becomes far too immersed in his work. The line between story and the real world is a blur.Zen Cho
I think this is more of a graphic novel than a comic book, but I am so not creating separate shelves for graphic novels and comics, so suck it, invisible fairy advocates for a divide between high art and low entertainment. Anyway Art Spiegelman goes on a bit of a spiel in his introduction to this about graphic novels and how the term is a silly bid for respectability for books with pictures in, so I don't think he'd object.I read this before I read the text-only version, because a) it wouldn't take as long as reading a whole book, and so would not make me feel guilty about reading instead of working, and b) in light of what I knew of the tastes of the giver (who also gave me The New York Trilogy), I figured a comic book would be more painless to get through if it turned out to be the kind of medium-over-message thing I generally don't enjoy.I'm not sure reading this first turned out to be the right thing to do. I ended up very impressed with both this and the text-only version of the story, but I like this version better. I think Peter Stillman comes off as a lot creepier and more pathetic in the comic than in the novella, but I can't tell if I think this because I read the comic first, so the effect was diluted by the time I got to the novella. I do think the Peter Stillman monologue is a lot more effective with the pictures added in; reading it and then comparing the scene in the graphic novel with the scene in the novella was really one of those "oh wow, possibilities of the medium!" moments.Anyway, it is great. I coulda done with more of a resolution, but I get that this is not that kind of book that gives you resolutions. I like that it is about words. I'm not sure what to think about Paul Auster being in it. It is very pointedly clever, which may or may not be why I think of it as being very much a Dude Book -- by which I do not mean that only dudes would want to read it or that the book is solely concerned with dudes, but that it just, um, well, it's a dude book. Possibly it's the whole thing where Auster is taking off the tropes of detective noir. Also the odd bit in the graphic novel where Virginia Stillman is shown naked in (presumably) Quinn's imagination for one panel. That strikes me as a very dude thing to do in a book -- I can't imagine many female writers who would've put in something like that.Tiffany
** spoiler alert ** Wow. Simply put, this book was mind-blowing. There are so many parallels and symbols in this graphic novel that it becomes hard to keep track of them all. Even when you attempt to write down all of the novel's themes, it's difficult to see where one starts and another ends. They're all interrelated in some way; together, they form some philosophical remark about life (I haven't exactly deciphered the novel yet--I just finished it today) and kind of warp the way we perceive reality. The only thing is, this novel is pretty disturbing as well. The plot line was strange, drawings of the people, eyes, and objects were creepy and the connections between the characters were also weird. (How's that for specificity?)Allow me to elucidate. Daniel Quinn is a thirty-five year old man whose wife and son had passed away. He wrote poems, plays, and essays when he was young, but suddenly stopped and became a mystery novelist because "a part of him had died and he did not want it haunting him". He called himself William Wilson and named his private-eye narrator Max Work. One day, he picks up the phone, assuming it was someone else... (to be continued)Themes:Eye-Max Work's business card (pg 8) has an eye on it--it's similar to the creepy eye character that appears throughout the bookVentriloquist/dummy-Wilson was the ventriloquist and Quinn was the dummy (8)-Narrator is the dummy and Auster (author) is the ventriloquist-Peter (young) looks like a dummy...the voice is coming from something within himCircles-The number 0 on the phone is a circle.-Quinn picks up the phone, assuming it was someone else, on his dead parents' anniversary --> Auster (character) rings in Quinn, assuming it was his wife-Zooming(in)-the telephone (1)-the drawing (18)-gate, drain, speaker (19)(out)-Notable Phrases:-"There is no sentence, no word that is not significant. And even if it is not, it has the potential to be so. Everything becomes essence: the center of the book shifts, is everywhere and no circumference can be drawn until the end" (7)-"If this is really happening, then I must keep my eyes open" (13)-"This is called speaking. The words come out for a moment and die"(15)-"I am new every day. I am born when I wake up in the morning, I grow old during the day, and I die at night"(18)-Revelations: -The name "Stillman" sounds like "still man" as in a dead man?-Peter was in a dark room with not even a window and ate with his hands --> Quinn ends up this way at the endConclusion:The pictures add a whole new dimension to Paul Auster's City of Glass. Some similarities and connections throughout the book are a bit easier to see, while some aspects, such as the weird one-eyed visionary(?) character, still confuse me.Meran
I've not read the prose edition of this novel, so I can't fairly compare them to each other.The story itself is a puzzle.. Who is Paul Auster? Why does Peter Stillman (Jr) phone him repeatedly? Where did Peter get Daniel's number? When Peter Sr turns up in the City, Peter sees a younger version peel off of him... why does Peter follow the older version and where did the younger one go? Why does Peter Jr's wife truly act as she does? These are all mysteries, to be sure.Daniel sees his losses in just about every one he meets, when he finally leaves his flat. He's very attracted to the Homeless of the City."Don Quixote" by Cervantes is referred to throughout. I think this story is patterned on that book. Since it's one of the novels I have never read, I believe that my understanding of this story is incomplete. That, of course, makes my review rather flawed.Blue
As a graphic mystery/detective short novel, this book is very well done. What Karasik and Mazzucchelli have achieved here is no small feat. The abstract thoughts and intricate stories intertwined in the book are delicately interpreted into the visual with striking compositions within each panel as well as on each page. The story is a page turner at times, so I had to go back to re-examine the drawings and composition of the pages. And yes, Auster is not your average thriller/mystery writer, so more intellect and general knowledge of historical facts, literature, and New York will allow the reader to appreciate and enjoy the story more.Núria
'La ciudad de cristal' es mi favorita de todas las cosas que ha escrito Paul Auster. Es también lo primero que leí de este escritor. Es la primera parte de la 'Trilogía de Nueva York' que a día de hoy me sigue pareciendo la única obra de Auster realmente conseguida. Es por esto que me animé a leer esta adaptación en forma de cómic (o novela gráfica, lo que ustedes prefieran). Una parte de mí no era muy optimista. Una parte de mí sólo quería leerlo para ver como este noble intento fracasaba. Sin embargo, no ha sido así. A pesar de que es una historia muy poco visual y bastante abstracta, el cómic se sale airoso, encuentra una serie de soluciones visuales realmente originales y que plasman perfectamente el tono de la obra original de Auster sin dejar de dar un punto de vista personal, algo que no era nada pero nada fácil. La recomendaría para curiosos que disfrutaron de la 'Trilogía de Nueva York'.W.B.
I read this one bored Saturday afternoon without moving from my spot in the center of the bed. I imagine I looked like a really lazy Saint Bernard. I thought it was pretty nifty...as graphic novels go it's definitely in the "superior" category. I never read the novel so maybe Auster fans were pissed by the abridged nature of this or something. One of those books that outdoes Kafka on paranoia...it doesn't get more "meta" than this one...the twists take this story back and forth between dimensions until you begin wondering if YOU are a fictional creation of this book...the art was okay...over the top but I figured that's camp on the part of the artist...Nur Diyana
aku rasa, buku ni buat aku rasa terhuyung- hayang dalam imaginasi aku sendiri. Ke-graphic-an ke-novel-an yang ada pada semua ilustrasi yang ada macam bercakap dengan aku, sampaikan aku terdengar-dengar teriakan dia bila aku tak baca. Tak pernah pulak terfikir permulaan bahasa macamana. Pening untuk tentukan Paul Auster yang mana satu, penulis ke detektif. Dan aku sekarang boleh faham macamana orag boleh berubah dari satu kehidupan ke satu kehidupan yang lain. Lepas baca buku ni aku menjenguk balik filem Inception dan The Science of Sleep supaya aku terus menerus dalam realiti aku sendiri yakni dalam mimpi. Kemudian terus berjalan dan perhatikan orang.Emma B
I realized I hadn't been on Goodreads in a while again, so I decided to chime back in with a review of a book I just read today!This book (graphic novel, actually) was given to me for my birthday, and I finally got around to it. I will say this - it definitely got me interested in the source material!City of Glass is, at its heart, a thesis about the nature of stories and characters, and at what point something or someone normal becomes one of the above. In pursuit of this, it also confronts identity, specifically how fluid our sense of self can be. Finally, it also spends some time on the shortcomings of words when it comes to describing the world around us, a topic in which I have a particular interest. In all, a very thought-provoking, philosophical read. I will definitely be considering some of its ideas for a while to come.On the downside, it all seemed a little too rushed. In trying to convert a novel's worth of material to a graphic novel format, the story became philosophical bombshell after existential bombshell and so on, without any breathing time between. The main character went somewhat underdeveloped, and although this felt like a conscious choice (see above identity discussion), I wished I knew anything more about him. I definitely want to read this story in its full-length form, to know what exactly I missed out on.The art style, on the other hand, is perfectly sparse. Clean black lines, barely any shading, it reminded me every step of the way of film noir as it would be in sketch form. It was definitely exactly the right art for this book.So, while it may have been a little too abbreviated for my tastes, I would definitely recommend City of Glass! It is a quick and easy read if you're looking to let the thoughts wash over you, and I can also see it being a pleasant lingering read if you want something to fall asleep considering each night.Dan
Fucking stupid.It's nothing short of a cute and novel expiriment that doesn't really go anywhere. My disapointment with this graphic novel was sorely exacerbated once I found out Spiegelman was the creative overseer and he did nothing to focus the narrative which is presented way too piecemeal and cut up for a normal reader to understand littleone enjoy.Jace
I was a little surprised to see this on the "Graphic Novel" bookcase at the library--because I'm still not convinced it needed to be re-writeen in comic form--but as thin as it is, I decided to check it out. I liked Auster's original City of Glass, but looking back that may have been because I was reading it for a class on Post-Modernism and was going to have to discuss it for 3 weeks anyway so I figured I might as well try and enjoy it. This book was a fine read; my only reservation is that it didn't need to exist in the first place. Having read both works, I just don't see how the story benfits from being told via comic book--ahem--"graphic novel". City of Glass doesn't rely on much visual imagery, so the art falls a little flat. Many of the drawings are lackluster and unimpressive. Far too many of the panels are just a string of zoom-ins on incidental objects like a telephone, sewer grate, or a discarded yo-yo. The adapters do a good job condensing Auster's novel into 130 pages of comic book panels, but their only real accomplishment is abridging the story into a quick 30 minute read. They retain most of the low-key metaphysical mystery elements while skimming over some of Auster's self-important post-modern musings. Ultimately, though, this book fails just the way the original novel did. Auster runs out of steam and doesn't know how to close the book, so he has the protagonist go crazy and vanish. The interesting issues about identity, language, and religion that he brought up during the novel were thrown to the wayside without any further discussion. I'm sure Auster and his supporters would say that the ending was "post-modern" and that I just don't "get it", but the emptiness in that argument is matched only by the laziness of the conclusion.Stan Kutcher
City of Glass is drawn by one of my favorite artists of all time, David Mazzucchelli. The concept of the book is original and creative. Unfortunately, the creators tried to be overly artistic, almost like some art film with the over-emphasis on cinematography (or wanting to win some award, which I'm sure it has). This book would have been more to my taste if it was printed in a larger format, and if the "trying to be arty" would have been toned down a little. The story is not great either (but could have been). Also, the art of Mazzucchelli is not even close to the same standard of "Daredevil: Born Again" or "Batman: Year One". I do however feel that the book is worth the read, but just not at the price that some sellers sell it at. There should also be more clarity on the size of the book, which is about the size of a "Archie Comics Digest".Sam
the original City of Glass, by paul auster, was a book that i enjoyed greatly when i first read it. i thought it was really unique, a thoughtful, stylish blend of raymond chandler, kafka, and borges. i still like it, but it hasn't aged that well for me. a lot of what i thought was playfulness now seems precious, facile. the prose is polished, but by the same token oddly eroded, flat, sanded down. often it feels like auster doesn't actually inhabit the english language--he reads like he's always already a french translation (which is maybe why he's so popular over there). and anyway, i like exuberence now, headlong run-on rushes and spiky thickets of clauses.this graphic novel, with art by paul karasik and the amazing david mazzuchelli (one of my all time comic book favorites), is another beast entirely. it takes the fine small bones of auster's narration and clothes it in images. they are, individually, simple--black and white, stylized, deliberately cartoonish. but they flow in and out of each other with the exuberance that auster's prose lacks, and it makes all the difference. in the opening sequence, for example, the protagonist looks out a window and sees a brick wall. the lines of the brick wall turn into a cityscape. the cityscape zooms out, and we see a map of the city, a giant maze. and the maze melts and fragments and abstracts, until we're looking at a fingerprint. and then we see that it's an smudge of ink on a piece of paper... amazing.