Cover image for City of glass
City of glass
Karasik, Paul.
Personal Author:
First Picador edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Picador, [2004]

Physical Description:
129 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 21 cm
A graphic, crime noir novel on a New York detective-cum-novelist who answers a wrong number. A double- barreled investigation, one from the perspective of the detective, the other from that of the novelist. Adapted from Paul Auster's City of Glass by the creators of Maus.
General Note:
A graphic mystery.
Format :


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FICTION Graphic Novel Central Library
FICTION Graphic Novel Open Shelf
FICTION Graphic Novel Graphic Novels

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A graphic novel classic with a new introduction by Art Spiegelman

Quinn 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.

"[This graphic novel] is, surprisingly, not just a worthy supplement to the novel, but a work of art that fully justifies its existence on its own terms."-- The Guardian

Author Notes

Paul Auster was born on February 3, 1947, in Newark, New Jersey. He received a B.A. and a M.A. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. In addition to his career as a writer, Auster has been a census taker, tutor, merchant seaman, little-league baseball coach, and a telephone operator. He started his writing career as a translator. He soon gained popularity for the detective novels that make up his New York Trilogy. His other works include The Invention of Solitude; Leviathan; Moon Palace; Facing the Music; In the Country of Last Things; The Music of Chance; Mr. Vertigo; and The Brooklyn Follies. His latest novels are entitled, Invisible and Sunset Park. In addition to his novels, Auster has written screenplays and directed several films. He is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a French Prix Medicis for Foreign Literature.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Karasik and Mazzucchelli's 1994 comics adaptation of Auster's existentialist mystery novel, reprinted here with an introduction by Art Spiegelman, has been a cult classic for years. The Comics Journal named it one of the 100 best comics of the century. Miraculously, it deepens the darkness and power of its source. Auster's novel (about a novelist named Quinn who's mistaken for a detective named Paul Auster and loses his mind and identity in the course of a meaningless case) zooms around in metafictional spirals, but it doesn't have a lot of visual content. In fact, it's mostly about the breakdown of the idea of representation and the widening chasm between signifier and signified. So the artists, perversely and brilliantly, play fast and loose with the text. Mazzucchelli draws everything in a bluntly sketched, bold-lined style, and having set up a suitably film noir mood at the beginning, he substitutes literal depictions of what's happening for symbolic or iconic images wherever possible. One character's monologue about the loss of meaning in his speech is drawn as a long zoom down his throat, followed by Charon arising from a void, a cave drawing, a series of holes and symbols of muteness and finally a broken marionette at the bottom of a well. This reflected, shattered Glass introduces a whole new set of resonances to Auster's story, about the things images can and can't represent when language fails. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Daniel Quinn, author of a series of de tective pot-boilers, accepts an assign ment as a real private investigator from a man who dials his phone number by mistake. His mission: to keep an eye on the man's father, a former linguistics professor who has spent time in jail for bizarre childrearing experiments. Quinn quickly loses track of both his client and the suspect, as well as his own apartment and belongings, and fi nally his identity. This metafictional mystery, reminiscent of Robbe-Gril let's anti-novel The Erasers, challenges conventional notions of character and plot. However, unless the remaining volumes of this projected trilogy pro vide more depth and substance, Aus ter's previous book, The Invention of Solitude, will probably remain the best introduction to his work. Edward B. St. John, Loyola Marymount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Auster's novella, originally published as part of the groundbreaking "Neo-Lit" series (Sun & Moon, 1985; o.p.), holds up in this adaptation. Daniel Quinn, a reclusive poet turned mystery writer living in New York City, receives calls from an unknown and perplexing individual who mistakes him for the detective Paul Auster (not to be confused with Auster the writer, who also appears in the book). After giving in to curiosity, Quinn accepts the case as protector of Peter Stillman, a young man whose father tortured him with experiments of sensory deprivation to discover the original language of God. As Quinn delves into the case, he becomes caught within the pair's obsessions. Karasik and Mazzucchelli tone down some of the metafictional aspects of the novella, but they streamline and focus the story without sacrificing too much of Auster's intent. Mazzucchelli's simple, straightforward artwork is ultimately what makes this version really work, transforming a highly intellectual tale based mostly around language and the word into a world of surreal visual meditations. The use of heavy black lines against a white background is reminiscent of the noir movies that partially influenced the original; when the characters dive further and further into insanity, the images become increasingly abstract. Combined with the unusual story, this technique makes for a unique introduction to some complex ideas of postmodernism without getting in the way of the plot.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.