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.Chris
This is quite possibly a perfect example of how a graphic novel can tell a different (and in my opinion better in this case) story than the original work by introducing pictures to the words. In this first illustrated book of Paul Auster's New York trilogy (mid 1980s noir mystery series), Auster himself becomes a character in his own book via illustrator adaptation. Running the gamut of common noir novel character types, the reader is introduced to a madman (or is he sane?), a stable and sane detective (or is he a writer? or is he insane?), someone's buxom wife (or is she a prostitute?), a brilliant professor (or is he a murderer?), and finally the City of Glass (New York, of course...but is it possibly the City of Brick as it becomes several times in the drawing). Great example of place as character, and great writing and drawing all around. 5 stars, easy.Carole-Ann Perron
Even if you're not in love with the story, you have to admit the work of Karasik and Mazzucchelli, to adapt the novel into a graphic novel, is flawless.Jeff Jackson
The rare adaptation that exceeds its source material. A doubly impressive feat since it's based on Paul Auster's best novel. With its deft ink strokes and airtight plot, this brilliant graphic perfectly captures and distills the original existential detective story. One of the great graphic novels and a perfect introduction to the fictional world of Paul Auster, too.Josh
Paul Karasik and David Mazzuchelli's adaptation of Auster's novella is 138 pages of pure gold. Working from a nine-panel grid, City of Glass tells the haunting, lonely tale of writer Daniel Quinn. Mistaken for a private detective, Quinn finds himself assigned to protect a man from his own father. In the course of the story, Quinn assumes more names and personae, eventually losing his own identity. The comic progressively reflects this deterioration: the panels tumble and shift, Mazzuchelli's brushstroke becomes wild, expressionist, filled with horror. City of Glass is a tour-de-force, in many ways a more eloquent primer on the form than Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics.Violet
I haven't read the original book, but the story seems so unbelievable that I doubt I would enjoy it as a novel. The visuals of this graphic novel told the most interesting story, despite the loosely held together strings that are the existential plot. I didn't see the deconstruction of language in the story at all. I would describe the adaption of City of Glass (and possibly the novel itself) as Film Noir for 13 year-olds.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.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.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.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.Andrew
"City of Glass", part of Auster's "New York Trilogy", is one of my favourite books, so when I realised a graphic novel version was available drawn by David Mazzucchelli (my new favourite artist) I obtained a copy immediately. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Much of this might have been down to remembering the original text, and in retrospect it's interesting to reflect on what might have been left out for it to be in this format. Also, in some respects, the graphic novel might have been too wordy in it's adaptation. But, these niggles aside, it was a great read; and once again draws me to read more from Auster's imagination and to seek out similar graphic novels.Oleg Kagan
Dissolution of identity is a constant companion in the graphic novel of Paul Auster's City of Glass. My assumption, having not read the book, is that this slippery view of self is what the artists chose in this solid adaption. Mystery author William Wilson (who writes about a P.I. named Max Work) is the pseudonym for Quinn, our protagonist, who gets a call for Paul Auster (the author of the book we're reading) which sends him on an enigmatic assignment to protect an emotionally-disturbed young man and his sexy "wife" from his unbalanced convict father. In the course of the assignment, Quinn/Wilson/Work loses what sense of himself we had, and in the end, we are only left with Auster. Is it confusing? Yes, but it's a satisfying conclusion inherent in a work of literary fiction. In the same vein, however, one can't help but feel that despite the admirable efforts of the adaptors, Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, that there is so much more to the novel than this thin graphic novel could convey. So as a standalone, it is an interesting story portrayed well, but as an adaptation it butts into the threshold of representational limits. A tension which limits its potency.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.Elin
I found it interesting, original, and memorable...but just a bit unsatisfying. I liked the graphics/ artwork, and I liked the story's investigation of identity, existence and reality. But to me, I was hoping for a neater ending. I really wanted an ending to match the 'mystery short story' genre and retrospectively make sense of the madness. But...that didn't happen, and it turns out there was no alternative layer of events - it was all just a face-value thing. I can't help but feel a touch disappointed about that - but I still give it points for being interesting and well crafted.