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I don't know how Neon Lit fared with the rest of the project, but this graphic novel version of City of Glass by Paul Auster is terrific.  In a sense it brings the story full circle, because in the original novel Auster used the conventions of the private eye story to explore the issues implicit in film noir : identity, fate, good and evil, randomness, etc.  Since many of the great hard boiled dicks first appeared in pulp fiction, it seems only natural to have this most modern (or post-modern) riff on the genre end up back in comic book form, however glorified.

Actually, Auster himself indulges in so many games with language, shifting identities and allusions to other works that the comic book format is especially well suited to his playfulness.  And, like William Goldman's Princess Bride, that sense of fun serves to lighten what can often be most ponderous in post-modern literature, the way in which its practitioners act as if their metafictional techniques are revolutionary and profound.  This work is such a throwback that it unabashedly wears its antecedents on its sleeve; never mind the obvious nod to mysteries of the 30's and 40's, it even goes so far as to discuss Cervantes and his metafictional innovations in Don Quijote.

I tend to doubt that Paul Auster's brand of existential musings will appeal to all tastes and I'm sure some will simply find the idea of reading a comic book to be beyond the pale.  But if you're an Auster fan, a private eye or noir enthusiast, or just haven't outgrown comics generally, it's well worth tracking down a copy.  I realize it says more about me than I should be comfortable revealing, but I actually think the best part of the book is the section on the criminally insane Professor Stillman's religious theses--they're frighteningly close to my own views and make for quite compelling speculation, adding to what is already a fun and unusual reading experience.

(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A)

  

Websites:

See also:

Paul Auster (2 books reviewed)
Comic Books & Graphic Novels
Paul Auster Links:
-PROFILE: Kind of Blue: Harnessing the rhythmic power of the comma, Paul Auster composes a little night music (Benjamin Strong, January 7 - 13, 2004, Village Voice)

Book-related and General Links:
    -Paul Auster : The Definitive Web Site
    -FEATURED AUTHOR : Paul Auster (NY Times Book Review)
    -ARCHIVES : "auster" (NY Review of Books)
    -FILMOGRAPHY : Auster, Paul (Imdb)
    -Paul Auster and the National Story Project (NPR)
    -ESSAY : Why Write ? (Paul Auster, National Endowment for the Arts)
    -ESSAY : Thinking of Rushdie (Paul Auster, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of LIFE, A USER'S MANUAL By Georges Perec (Paul Auster, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of RUBICON BEACH By Steve Erickson (Paul Auster, NY Times Book Review)
    -INTERVIEW : At Home with Paul Auster : Chance of a Lifetime (Elaine Louie, October 5, 1995, NY Times)
    -INTERVIEW : with Paul Auster (Worldguide)
    -INTERVIEW : with Paul Auster (LitKit)
    -INTERVIEW : Having Words with Paul Auster (City Search)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW : Paul Auster Interviewed by Bill Goldstein (May 5, 1999, NY Times)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW : with Paul Auster (LINEbreak)
    -PROFILE : Case of the Brooklyn Symbolist (Adam Begley, August 30, 1992, New York Times Magazine)
    -PROFILE : My Lunch with Paul Auster (Chris Colin, Salon)
    -Paul Auster: A Brief Biography
    -Paul Auster (1947-)(American Literature on the Web)
    -Paul Auster--Definitive Website
    -Stillman's Maze
    -ESSAY : "An Examination of the Identity of Author and Character and Their Relationship Within the Narrative  Structure of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy" (Nicholas Dawson, Blue Cricket)
    -ESSAY : Escaping from the Locked Room: Overthrowing the Tyranny of Artifice in Paul Auster's New York Trilogy (Chris Pace, Blue Cricket)
    -ESSAY : Paul Auster and the Crisis of the Individual (Carl-Carsten Springer)
    -REVIEW : of Paul Auster's City of Glass (RICHARD E. NICHOLLS, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY : Comics (Tom De Haven, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of The Music of Chance By Paul Auster (Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of THE MUSIC OF CHANCE By Paul Auster (Madison Smartt Bell, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of City of Glass: The New York Trilogy. Volume One by Paul Auster (1985)(Toby Olson, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of GHOSTS By Paul Auster. The New York Trilogy, Volume Two (1986)(Rebecca Goldstein, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE LOCKED ROOM ''The New York Trilogy,'' Volume 3. By Paul Auster (1987)(Steven Schiff, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of IN THE COUNTRY OF LAST THINGS By Paul Auster (1987)(Padgett Powell, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Moon Palace By Paul Auster (1989)(Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of Moon Palace by Paul Auster (Joyce Reiser Kornblatt, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of THE INVENTION OF SOLITUDE By Paul Auster (W. S. Merwin, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Leviathan By Paul Auster (1992)(Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of LEVIATHAN By Paul Auster (1992)(Ginger Danto, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of MR. VERTIGO By Paul Auster (1994)(Jay Cantor, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Mr. Vertigo by  Paul Auster (Jeffrey Goldsmith, Boston Review)
    -REVIEW : of HAND TO MOUTH A Chronicle of Early Failure By Paul Auster (1997)(Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of HAND TO MOUTH A Chronicle of Early Failure. By Paul Auster (1997)(Patrick Giles , NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Hand to Mouth (Dwight Garner, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of    Hand to Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure by Paul Auster (Alain de Botton, booksonline uk)
    -REVIEW : of Hand to Mouth (Steven E. Alford, Houston Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of Hand to Mouth, a Chronicle of Early Failure (Stephen Amidon, Literary Review)
    -REVIEW : of Timbuktu by Paul Auster (Oscar Villalon, SF Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of TIMBUKTU By Paul Auster (Michiko Kakutani, NY Times)
    -REVIEW : of TIMBUKTU By Paul Auster (1999)(Jim Shepard, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW : of Timbuktu (Steven E. Alford, Houston Chronicle)
    -REVIEW : of Timbuktu by Paul Auster (Will Cohu, booksonline uk)
    -REVIEW : of Timbuktu by Paul Auster (Paul Bailey, booksonline uk)
    -In The Margins : To Tell the Truth (sort of): Paul Auster and the National Story Project (Allen St. John, Book Magazine)

FILMS :
    -FILMOGRAPHY : Auster, Paul (Imdb)
    -INFO : The Music of Chance (1993)(Imdb)
    -REVIEW : of Music of Chance (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times)

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