Monday, August 15, 2011
In Books: The Invention of Hugo Cabret By Brian Selznick
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a wonderful literary experience. It's part picture book, novel, graphic novel with cinematic images. The work of art by Brian Selznick is being made into a film by Martin Scorcese, but do yourself a favour and read the book first. It's a thick book, but can be read within a couple of hours, as a majority of the book is filled with Selznick's pencil drawings. Images that look timeless and transport you into the world he's created.
Hugo lives in the train station, inside its walls, and he takes care of the clocks, and steals food to stay alive. He's had a tough life, but he holds onto hope in the form of a notebook his father left behind. It shows him how to fix an automaton* that his father had rescued from the attic of the museum he worked at before he died. Hugo dreams that the automaton has one last message for him from his father. But the crotchety old Toy Maker who sells his creations at the station gets in his way and this is where the mystery of the book comes alive.
The book is written in a way that is sweet and, dare I say it again, timeless. It's perfect for young and old as it captures the innocence, not just of a time long gone (the 1930's in Paris) but the beginnings of new things. When we were young and full of dreams. The story, for me, was like a time machine. It took me right into this busy train station, it made me believe in elements of magic, and the possibilities of our dreams coming true (the cynic in me liked the reprieve). If you have a couple of hours, or even if you don't, make the time to read this book. In its simplicity you'll find something worthwhile even if it only lasts the afternoon.