November 28, 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

i like to imagine that the world is one big machine. you know, machines never have any extra parts. they have the exact number and type of parts they need. so i figure if the entire world is a big machine, i have to be here for some reason. and that means you have to be here for some reason, too.

i'm late to discover Brian Selznick- by the time i had heard of him, Martin Scorsese was directing the movie adaptation of his fourth book, and his fifth was set to debut. i heard an interview with him on NPR and was intrigued by the idea of a young adult novel that was half illustrations, so i put it on hold at the library. i was a little suprised to discover that it's over 500 pages long, but it probably only took me 2-3 hours to read the whole thing, due to the sparse text, illustrations, and the fact that it was really quite good.

it's a young adult novel but the story is much less sophisticated, and more suitable for younger readers than say, the Harry Potter series. i'm guessing you've seen the commercials for the movie- young boy lives in Paris train station, discovers magical things, life is changed. the movie was pretty faithful to the story but the book is so much better. my favorite part of both is the incorporation of real life silent filmmaker Georges Méliès
. not that i knew anything about him before, but it was cool to see a forgotten pioneer resurrected to bring life to a new story. Stills from his movies are printed in the book alongside Selznick's drawings, and actual footage appears in the Scorsese movie. easily the best part.

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