Neon Lit: Paul Auster’s City of Glass

ISBN: 038077108X
ISBN 13: 9780380771080
By: Paul Karasik David Mazzucchelli Paul Auster Bob Callahan

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Genres

Comic Books Comics Comics And Graphic Novels Comics Graphic Novels Fiction Graphic Novels Graphic Novels Comics Graphicnovels Mystery To Read

About this book

A graphic novel classic with a new introduction by Art SpiegelmanQuinn writes mysteries. The Washington Post has described him as a “post-existentialist private eye.” An unknown voice on the telephone is now begging for his help, drawing him into a world and a mystery far stranger than any he ever created in print.Adapted by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, with graphics by David Mazzucchelli, Paul Auster’s groundbreaking, Edgar Award-nominated masterwork has been astonishingly transformed into a new visual language.

Reader's Thoughts

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.

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.

Jason

City of Glass is a tough novella to read, because it is about defying expectations and disrupting narrative and form. I loved it though, and so when I saw the graphic form drawn by David Mazzucchelli (whose recent book Asterios Polyp was fantastic) I was immediately intrigued.It turns out to be a perfect adaptation. Which is to say that it feels free to change, quite liberally, what was on the page, so as to better preserve the idea. And that same disruption of storytelling is still in this book, transmogrified into the art. What Mazzucchelli has done is create a series of Escher-like zooms that call for the impossible interrelation of everything that still manages to leave threads feeling empty and alone, which mirrors perfectly what the novel does. It speaks volumes.The ending here, unfortunately, feels even more rushed and confusing than Auster's, needing perhaps a half dozen or so more pages to fully explore the final fate of Quinn, maybe needing more. I don't know. It feels a little rushed (and it is an already rushed and strange feeling ending in the book) and needed some space to let things sink.City of Glass is a marvelous book worth reading in both forms.

Penelope

I thought this was a pretty amazing graphic novel, and I definitely plan on reading the original City of Glass next. Concepts of identity, the role of the author in creating meaning, and the blurred line between fiction and reality are all present here, and explored in quite an intriguing way. I don't know how I felt about the ending, though. Maybe I just haven't thought about it enough, but it seemed too open-ended to me. In a way it makes sense, since this story is not a traditional narrative. It attempts to extend itself beyond the confines of the page by involving the author himself as a "fictional" character (but he's still the author...further complicated by the fact that Quinn himself is a writer also--but goes by a different pen name). Still, I would have liked an ending that was more...final...even if that finality was contrived (as all literary endings are, I guess).I think what left me wanting a "final" ending was the fact that the story starts off in a somewhat "normal" narrative vein. The issues of identity and the inclusion of the author are introduced pretty early on, but about 3/4 of the way in, the narrative quickly descends into abstraction. A part of me loves it, a part of me doesn't. I'm undecided I guess.

Mark

I serendipitously picked this newer edition (which is worth getting for the new Spiegelman Introduction) up from a dollar pile in a used bookshop this morning, and took a few hours this afternoon to re-read it--coming back to it 15 years after its publication. The book has aged well--and I may have appreciated it more on a second reading. Auster's meditation on meaning (both language and life) is brilliantly captured via Karasik and Mazzuchelli's graphic "adaptation," a puzzling and engaging work that ultimately collapses in on itself, taking the reader with it, and leaving more questions than answers (as good "magical realist" books should).[1:]1. OK, I'm not committed to filing Auster under "magical realism" either, but is there a better general descriptor? Isn't he to some extent the best magical realist of the modern urbis?

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.

Artur Coelho

Um solitário escritor de inconsequentes romances policiais recebe uma chamada a meio da noite, a pedir-lhe para investigar um caso policial. Envolvido numa trama de meias palavras e labirintos conceptuais, o escritor acaba por desvanecer-se nas ruas da cidade, deixando um caderninho cheio de notas que nos permite reconstituir a sua queda no esquecimento.Se olharmos para as profundezas de um texto, descobrimos sempre cadas vez mais níveis de complexidade sempre que mergulhamos mais a fundo nas palavras do texto. As histórias raramente são simples, embora o pareçam. Talvez seja por isto que textos como o corão ou a bíblia têm tanto significado: quanto mais são lidos, a mais interpretações se prestam. Cada leitor lê aquilo que entende ler.City of Glass é um texto profundamente complexo. Nele, as identidades dos personagens fundem-se e esfumaçam-se, como se de um sonho se tratasse. O protagonista, Daniel Quinn, é um escritor que após a morte da mulher e do filho deixou de escrever textos com siginificado e passou a debitar as aventuras de Max Work, prototípico detective privado dos estereótipos romances policiais. Nunca chegamos a saber como faleceu a mulher e o filho de Quinn; antes ficamos com a certeza de que a morte destes tornou-se o momento em que Quinn esquece a sua humanidade, passando a viver num mundo de sonhos. A solitária rotina de Quinn é interrompida por um misterioso telefonema. Do lado de lá da linha, uma voz feminina pede a ajuda do detective Paul Auster para um caso de vida ou morte. Quinn vê-se confundido com Auster, e acaba por ceder aos pedidos insistentes de ajuda. Encarnando-se na sua personagem de Max Work, e assumindo a identidade de Auster, Quinn encontra-se com Virgínia Stillman, que lhe pede ajuda para manter sob vigilância o pai de Peter Stillman, seu marido. Stillman havia sido confinado a um quarto pelo seu pai, também Peter Stillman, convencido que ele desaprenderia a linguagem humana e começaria a falar a língua de deus, de acordo com a teologia do século XVI e os textos de Henry Dark, secretário de John Milton e pregador na américa de mil e seiscentos. As acções de Stillman-pai resvalaram num total falhanço, que culminou na desaprendizagem da linguagem por Stillman-filho. Descobertos os maus tratos, Stillman pai é confinado à prisão, e Stillman filho é internado num hospício, onde Virgínia, saída de um casamento falhado, se casa com ele para o retirar do hospício e mostrar-lhe a realidade que durante anos lhe foi escondida.Quinn começa assim a vigiar Peter Stillman, que após a saída da prisão mantém-se numa rotina de passeios diários por nova yorque, a cidade sempre presente, recolhendo objectos deitados fora. Quinn, num esforço para compreender o porquê de Stillman, o que ele realmente é, começa a registar minuciosamente os percursos de Stillman, e ao traçá-los sobre um mapa apercebe-se que o vaguear de Stillman obedece a uma lógica própria. Os passeios aparentemente sem destino de Stillman formam letras ao serem traçados num mapa.Quinn acaba por travar conversas com Stillman, onde este lhe revela o seu projecto de invenção de uma nova linguagem. Para Stillman, controlar as palavras equivale a controlar o nosso destino.Stillman desaparece e Quinn contacta Paul Auster para lhe contar o sucedido e pedir ajuda. Mas Auster não é detective, é escritor, e não percebe o porquê da confusão. Mesmo assim, fica curioso. Perante a família de Auster, Quinn recorda-se da sua, e foge, regressando ao seu labirinto. Tenta contactar Virgínia, mas não consegue. Então instala-se num beco perto da casa de Stillman filho e começa a vigiar ininterruptamente o prédio, até se confundir com as sombras, as paredes e os caixotes de lixo. Entretido com a sua história policial, Quinn transforma-se num vagabundo, mais uma alma esquecida por entre as ruas da cidade.A história termina com o desaparecimento de Quinn. Paul Auster, ao investigar o apartamento abandonado de Peter Stillman, onde Quinn terá passado os últimos dias de que há conhecimento, descobre o caderninho de anotações de Quinn e tenta reconstituir o seu destino.Confusos? Esta é uma história de ilusões e confusões. Em City of Glass, os egos confundem-se, as personagens fundem-se em si mesmas. Quinn despe-se da sua personalidade e acaba por cair num mundo irreal de ilusões, que o leva à dissolução. Um pouco como um Dom Quixote dos tempos modernos (e D.Q. são as iniciais de Dom Quixote, esse arcaico caçador de sonhos esfumados). A solidão e o vazio da alma do homem contemporâneo produzem uma eterna perseguição de sonhos ilusórios que se desvanecem, esfumando-se nos precisos momentos em que pensamos agarrá-los.Parte da Trilogia de Nova Yorque, City of Glass foi "vítima" de uma adaptação para banda desenhada. Adaptar um texto com a complexidade e profundidade de City of Glass não foi tarefa fácil. O desafio partiu de Art Spiegelman, autor de Maus, o comic definitivo sobre o holocausto, e a adaptação recaiu sobre David Mazzucchelli, que em conjunto com Frank Miller revolucionou um personagem esquecido da Marvel, o Demolidor. Mazzucchelli contou com Paul Karasik para o ajudar a superar as dificuldades impostas por um texto como o de City of Glass.O livro encontra-se perfeitamente espartilhado numa grelha de seis vinhetas por prancha, entrecortadas, quando necessário, por vinhetas maiores. O rigor da disposição das vinhetas ajuda-nos a perceber a inexorabilidade do destino de Quinn, entrecortado com a planta geométrica da cidade de nova yorque, palco privilegiado desta história de dissolução num mundo anónimo de becos e ruas sem destino. As imagens mergulham-nos no mundo do livro, um mundo de ilusões que se esfumaçam.Subjacente a todo o livro está a cidade que lhe dá título, uma cidade de vidro que espelha o vazio que existe dentro do nosso ser.

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.

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.

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...

Andrea

Having never read Paul Auster's City of Glass in bare text, it is hard to imagine it related more compellingly than it is here in his collaboration with artist Paul Karasik. The noir-ish narrative is built on acts of happenstance; intersections of personal losses, accidents and a search for answers that spin off into new configurations, like watching balls in a game of billiards.In his introduction, Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus and ten-year contributor to the New Yorker, explains how it all came together in a similar act of randomness, or perhaps destiny. After sparking a friendship with Auster in the 80's, Spiegelman saw tremendous graphic potential in Auster's abstract narrative style. He began searching for an artist who could not only tell the 'City of Glass' story, but capture and expand its essence.Spiegelman found that in a former student of his at the School of Visual Arts, Paul Karasik. Since SVA, Paul had moved on to teach art at Packer Collegiate in Brooklyn Heights. As it turned out, one of Karasik's own students who showed particular talent was Paul Auster's own 11-yr old son, Daniel. Curious, Karasik had read some of Auster's work and had already begun working out sketches of City of Glass in a sketchbook. What results is a true meeting of the minds, as dynamic as it is inexplicable. Where Auster's language appropriately shatters, Karasik's visuals create a world where those broken codes can find their home.

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.

Artguy

The classic adapted to the graphic novel (or, if you prefer, comic) style. Still has its edge, still has its harrowing humanity. Sometimes a bit too cartoonish for my tastes, but worthwhile to read. Art Spiegelman writes a great intro, pragmatically discussing how he approached Auster and how this book came to be. It is located at the front of the book, but I recommend reading it AFTER you have read the story.

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.

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.

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