IR Fiction/Graphic Novel

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

I literally spent the entire last weekend reading. As you’ll gradually see over the course of the week. First up was this one which I’ve been meaning to read for absolute ages! What finally spurred me into action? A friend of mine mentioned that Hotson Jude Law was going to be appearing in Martin Scorsese’s adaption of this book. Well, if you know me at all, you know that I like to read the book before the movie comes out – for no reason other than to be that annoying friend you all have who says ‘Have you read the book?’ when you start discussing the merits of the movie.

I don’t think the movie’s even started filming, but I was also procrastinating reading a book that I have to read before Claire leaves, so I thought I’d dive right in.

And Oh. My. God. It’s brilliant. You’ll notice that I classified this as both fiction and a graphic novel (not that graphic novels aren’t fiction, but you get the distinction, I’m sure). There is text, but there are also large sections that are only illustrations – at one point, there’s a chase scene and I swear I’ve never turned pages so fast! Selznick’s style is very pencilly and cross-hatchy – I would liken him to Shaun Tan’s Arrival and Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris K. Burdick (two of my absolute favorites, by the way – if you haven’t read them, I don’t think I can be your friend [also, forget The Polar Express, Harris is Van Allsburg’s masterpiece]).

Oh, yeah, and the plot is quite good, too, but mostly I think this book is about the visuals and it’s a stunning example of a blending of illustrations and text. It totally made me cry at the end.

But in a good way. You should definitely read it.

My rating: A

“The Resident Patient” Or, A three-hour tour!

“The Resident Patient” was published in August 1893 and took place Wednesday, October 6 to Thursday, October 7, 1886.

“The Resident Patient” gives us a very clear view of clever Watson. Yay! Upon returning from their three-hour jaunt through the city (That’s a hell of a walk, gents!), Holmes comments that their visitor is a doctor…and Watson gets it! Baring-Gould points out that, despite his self-deprecation (and his portrayal in many adaptations – Leslie blames Nigel Bruce [NA, 609]), Watson is actually one clever dude. Okay, he didn’t actually use the word dude. But still. He points out that in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” ‘Watson makes several pertinent deductions from the King’s newspaper before the Master adds his own. Watson easily connects the five orange pips with a seafaring man with no other indication than the postmarks. In The Sign of Four, he is able to deduce, with only a little prompting from the sleuth, that the murderer entered through the roof, improbable as that was. In The Hound of the Baskervilles, his reconstruction of Dr. James Mortimer from his walking stick is shrewd if not altogether accurate (BG, 268). Leslie points out that The Hound of the Baskervilles shows off Watson’s deductive powers quite impressively, since Watson’s letters to Holmes ‘are filled with keen observations and deductions and … Holmes compliments Watson, saying “Our researches have evidently been running on parallel lines”‘ (NA, 610).

I think I’m starting to get too antsy for “The Final Problem” and I’m sort of looking ahead too much to be pulling as many interesting from these short stories as I maybe should, but just one more thing before I move on to the next story – is there a division among the Holmesians? Those who are super-focused on working out the dates *cough*BaringGould*cough* and those are more lackadaisical about them? Because Leslie makes a remark here that ‘”The Resident Patient” is generally thought to have occurred in 1887, although there is little agreement among the chronologists’ (NA, 630). Sounds like a subtle jab to me! I don’t think he’s including himself in that group – although he gives a chronological table in the appendix, he certainly doesn’t discuss it to the lengths that Baring-Gould does – only in one or two stories has it popped up. He hardly ever dates them at all! I’m desperate for some Holmesian gossip.

So tune in next week for “The Greek Interpreter” where we’ll meet Holmes’ *gasp* brother and ponder who he may actually be working for (Hint: It may not be who you think it is.). After that, we’ve only got “The Naval Treaty” and then it’s on to the main event!

*Most of my notes, I think, come from the New Annotated simply because I find its format easier to work through and it is, therefore, the version that I’m reading first (I’m only reading the notes in the Baring-Gould). Much of the information is doubled up, but there is some that is unique to either volume, so if you see NA, that’s the Baring-Gould edition and BG is the New Annotated. No, I’m totally kidding – it’s the other way (the logical way) round.