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City of Glass

10 ottobre 2008


City of Glass: Graphic Novel

Cover art for the 2004 Picador edition.

City of Glass: The Graphic Novel is a one-volume adaptation of Paul Auster‘s acclaimed story, also entitled City of Glass. The story was originally part of The New York Trilogy, and in 1994, David Mazzucchelli and Paul Karasik set out to adapt the offbeat, somewhat surreal short novel into a graphic novel.

David Mazzucchelli

David Mazzucchelli

The original comic was published by Avon Books as Neon Lit: Paul Auster’s City of Glass. The project was somewhat led by influential and popular comics artist, Art Spiegelman. The original printing was received very well, and the work was chosen as one of the “100 Most Important Comics of the Century”. In 2004, a new edition of the book was released as City of Glass: The Graphic Novel which featured an introduction by Spiegelman. In this introduction, Spiegelman calls the graphic novel “a breakthrough work.”

The story follows a man named Daniel Quinn. One night, he receives a call meant for a private detectivePaul Auster, the same name as the author of the story). He is intrigued by the phonecall and takes the case. His employers end up being a man, named Peter Stillman, and his wife. Through the course of the narrative, Quinn discovers some surprising things about identity, language, and human nature. He also ends up meeting, not the unseen detective Paul Auster, but writer Paul Auster.

In one section of Paul Auster’s original novella, Peter Stillman delivers a long, somewhat disjointed speech about his life and the job that he has for Daniel Quinn. In the comic adaptation, the interplay between words and pictures is particularly interesting, with the word balloons coming less often from Stillman and more often from inkwells, storm drains, and even cave paintings. Spiegelman was particularly impressed with this section of the book, noting how well it translates Auster’s description of Stillman’s speech patterns.

The first book in the New York Trilogy series) (1985) A novel by Paul Auster

The first book in the New York Trilogy series) (1985) A novel by Paul Auster

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