Friday, May 06, 2005

City of Glass

It's taken a decade for Paul Karasik and David Mazzuchelli's graphical adaptation of Auster's novel to make it across the pond. In the introduction Art Spiegelman explains how they originally tried to solicit brand new material from a number of leading novelists. They were determined to break some ground and the fact that City of Glass had been the subject of three unsuccessful screenplay attempts eventually convinced them not to turn their nose up at Auster's offer of one of this particular existing text for their exercise.

In a bid to locate this kind of comic on a shelf apart from the role-playing game guides, they prefer to describe it as Neon Lit as opposed to Graphical Novel. It's a format that allows them to indulge in the kind of visual experimentation that would become very annoying indeed on the silver screen. The narrator's observations are qualitative different here too, as they are excused from sitting inside speech bubbles and are therefore less interruptive than they are within a page of undifferentiated text.

Who knows, I may even read The New York Trilogy now. In an earlier post I was a touch over-scathing about the erudite games Auster likes to play in his books. I do enjoy reading them, it's just that the style is something I wouldn't care to reproduce. He shoves us into a nice little hall of mirrors involving Cervantes and Borges - Cervantes teasingly claimed not to be the author of his famous tale, while Borges wrote a short story called Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote about a man that wrote the same words while intending something completely different. So, in City of God Auster appears in his own story to talk about Don Quijote and there's another character called Menard. It's all so ooh aren't I smart. He is a New Yorker though.

Borges was generally better at this sort of thing.

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