I saw a copy this book in the audio book section of my library (after reading a physical copy), and thought to myself, “How on earth could that possibly have translated?” This is one of those books you must hold in your hands. The illustrations are beautiful and sometimes you flip through dozens of them before you return to text. I loved how these visuals told the story. In my opinion, they often told it more convincingly than the actual words. I enjoyed the experience of this novel – the mystery, the drawings, the unique page layout – but I felt the writing itself was a little flat. I never felt fully attached to the characters, and I was turning pages not always to find out the rest of their story, but to see it.
So I’ll say this: Hugo is an experience. Selznick is an incredibly talented illustrator and visual storyteller. This novel is formatted in a unique and completely satisfying visual manner. Writing aside, that experience alone is reason to pick up the book in my opinion. Don’t be intimidated by the 500+ pages, either. I don’t think I’ve ever read such a thick book, so quickly.
Originally reviewed here