Jan 14, 2013

Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Published April 1st 2007 by Scholastic
Source: library
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon 

Summary: Caldecott Honor artist Brian Selznick's lavishly illustrated debut novel is a cinematic tour de force not to be missed!
ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

Wonderful, wonderful book. I borrowed it from the library back in September and read it twice the same day. This is one of those situations where the book and the movie are equally mesmerizing. If you've seen the movie, it doesn't really matter if you already know the story; the form of this book provides a special reading experience.

Selznick pays tribute to the early days of cinema with this wonderful story told alternately in words and pictures. I have never read anything like it. Inventive, with a wonderful narration and lovable characters, a book that is not about magic but is magic itself. Is there a better way to glorify cinema than to write a book that gives you a profound cinematic experience? Selznick breaks off the written part at moments to insert several pages of simple but beautiful, black and white drawings. Hugo falls on the train. Picture: the front of the train. Next picture: closer up on the train. Next picture: every detail of the trains headlights. Or how about Hugo in pain? Show me his wide eyes.

Needless to say, I absolutely loved it and adding it to my favorites. This is a book that both children and grown-up cinema-lovers will enjoy equally. The older readers will relish the story of Georges Méliès and his work and hardships.

Enchanting is the word that I'm looking for.

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