The Inner Life of Martin Frost
literary illusions get innovative graphic treatment
Paul Auster's story is ambitiously blended with Glenn Thomas's typography and graphic design in exciting new collaboration -- most importantly, the book is a stunning concoction of wonderful typography configurations, graphic illustrations, and page-layout mastery. You don't even need to read the story -- which is fascinating -- but merely thumb through the book, dazzled by it's layout and assembly. (You may click on these images to see enlargements)
Throughout the book, lavish use of fold-outs and over-printed, translucent make each new spread a discovery in visual form.
The way it's been designed, the slips and foldouts make a new layout and design as you wander through the writings.
"The Inner Life of Martin Frost," is 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 curiosities. This new work marks the first Auster-Thomas collaboration that is widely available to the public.
If you want a real jolt of typography, married with graphic illustrations and unique book assemblage, then this is for you. Our only quibble is that ALL of the text is set in ALL CAPS. So reading the story is a bit difficult. But without all caps, the clean layout cuts, and shaped typography could not have been accomplished.
I believe this will, some day, be a collector's book -- and will certainly go down in history as one of the ground-breaking designs of this decade -- perhaps the millennium. That's why we designate "The Inner Life of Martin Frost" Fiction, Art by Paul Auster & Glenn Thomas, as our BEST OF 2008 Book Design!
Thanks for reading...
Mark Batty Publisher is an independent publisher dedicated to making distinctive books on the visual art of communicating, showcasing the visual power and innovation of contemporary culture in all of its varied poses. Today, the visual comes at us from more places than ever, and its dissemination is faster and more advanced every year. Books from Mark Batty Publisher capture this acceleration on the pages of every book. Affordable, well designed, thoughtfully created, and produced to last, MBP books are artful products that readers want to hold onto forever. For more information, visit www.markbattypublisher.com.