Who wrote City of Glass? The original novel is written by Paul Auster. The novel was then adapted by artists Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli into a graphic novel. Though the story of the graphic novel is based on the original novel, the words in the graphic version is not exactly Paul Auster’s. So then would he still be the author?
There is then the added layer of shifting identities throughout the graphic novel. Our protagonist, Daniel Quinn, is an author of a mystery series about detective Max Work, which Quinn writes under the pseudonym William Wilson. Throughout City of Glass Quinn takes on several identities. He becomes detective Paul Auster. Then, as Paul Auster, he calls himself Daniel Quinn and then Peter Stillman.
Later in the novel we meet the story’s “real” Paul Auster who is also a writer. By the end of the graphic novel we meet the narrator of the story who claims to be a friend of Paul Auster. The narrator says that the entire story, as we the readers have been read it, has been taken from Daniel Quinn’s notebook. Would Quinn then be the author of the story?
City of Glass really brings to light the question of authorship. Does an author adopt an alter-ego when he/she writes a story? If so, then it is not inaccurate to say that the protagonist or narrator is the author. In the case of City of Glass, Paul Auster (the real “real” one) authored the graphic novel, because he provided the story’s outline with his original novel. Karasik and Mazzucchelli also authored the graphic novel, because they created the story that is told through the artwork. Daniel Quinn also authored the graphic novel, because the story within the story came from his notebook.