Monday, May 31, 2010

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

I was skeptical when I heard that Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret was being made into an audiobook. It is a story that is told only partly through text; pages of wordless illustrations move the action forward. In the audio version, the pictures are translated into sound clips. (Running footsteps, the sound of a crowded railway station, the whistle of a steam engine.) This worked surprisingly well.

The story is set in about 1937. A twelve-year-old orphan named Hugo lives on his own in a train station in Paris, where he tends to the many clocks. His obsession is to restore to working order an automaton that he has found. Caught stealing parts from a toy booth in the station, Hugo's life becomes entwined with that of Georges, a grumpy old toy store owner with a mysterious past.

Silent films from the turn of the century, magicians, a stolen key... a story for listeners of all ages.

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