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Literary Illusions Get Innovative Graphic Treatment in Mark Batty Publisher’s “The Inner Life of Martin Frost”
January 29, 2009
Contact: Joel Samberg
Mark Batty Publisher, a leader in distinctive books covering the graphic and communication arts, has released “The Inner Life of Martin Frost,” an inventive graphic novel that takes an element of Paul Auster’s novel, “The Book of Illusions,” and marries it with artist Glenn Thomas’s distinctive drawings and typography. Merging form with function, function with story, and story with design, the result is a fascinating take on the way in which old stories and fresh imagery can work together to create new readings and understandings.
Auster’s novel, “The Book of Illusions,” explores the implications of stories within stories, especially as films. In “Illusions,” protagonist David Zimmer battles with personal crises and falls into the work of a silent film star named Hector Mann—directly into a long-lost Mann film called “The Inner Life of Martin Frost.” Thomas has taken this aspect of Auster’s original novel and has graphically reinterpreted it to echo the dizzying plight of David Zimmer as he becomes fascinated by the film in which he finds himself living.
“I love the way Paul Auster puts his books together,” Thomas said, discussing the mutual inspirations of fictional stories and graphic design. “As with art, I want a story to put me off balance, causing me to puzzle over it and putting me into a state of consternation. At its best it should shock me, like seeing Matthias Grüenwald’s powerful expressionistic masterpiece, the Isenheim Altarpiece, for the very first time in person.”
Auster wrote and directed a film adaptation of “The Inner Life of Martin Frost” in 2007, and as in that revamped version of the story, various visual cues prove to fit very well with Auster’s prose, making this an ideal book for all those interested in the intriguing synergies between words and imagery.
“The Inner Life of Martin Frost” is the second collaboration between novelist Paul Auster and artist Glenn Thomas, both natives of Newark, New Jersey, who share some of the same artistic sensitivities and curiosity. This new work marks the first Auster-Thomas collaboration that is widely available to the public.