Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pulp of the Week - The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Written and illustrated by Brian Selznick

I am the last person in my house (family of 5) to read Brian Selznick's glorious novel / picture book hybrid, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is a two inch thick short novel that is rich with wonders and surprises. Selznick intersperses his text with double page pencil drawings that advance the plot and enhance the characters.

Selznick says that he was inspired to write this story after reading a book about a collection of automata (mechanical performing figures) that was donated to a Paris museum and then neglected to the point they had to be discarded. Selznick said, "I imagined a boy finding those broken, rusted machines, and at that moment, Hugo and his story were born."
Martin Scorsese is making the film of this book (which many friends of mine love) but it wasn't until reading it that I truly understood why Scorsese wanted to make the film of this story. It reaches back into the very roots of cinema in wonderous ways.

The book itself alternates between prose and art in a quite brilliant manner. It is not like a long comic book, nor a heavily illustrated novel. The prose flows to the art  and back and every page turn is a delightful surprise. The art often propels the action forward, drawing your eye to details that might take far longer to describe than you want at that moment. You see it and turn the page eager for the next revelation.

It is a quick read, but Brian Selznick has crafted a very memorable and enjoyable book that will stick with me for a long time to come.

I give The Invention of Hugo Cabret 9.5 out of 10 stars.

1 comment:

Ken Horowitz said...

I thought this book was wonderful. So visual, it'll be interesting to see what it looks like as a movie.