Wrote about this book of short stories some weeks back when it was merely an object of book lust. And now that I own it and have read it cover to cover, more than once, it is now an object of print junkie porn. Allow me to explain.
Jez Burrows and Lizzy Stewart of Sing Statistics paired twelve writers with twelve illustrators: "published and unpublished, established and emerging." Half of the participants took part in a "stories from illustrations" exercise and the other half in an "illustrations from stories" exercise. The breadth of narrative here is mind-blowing. The invitation to engage either one piece or the other of each pair and decide how you might have tackled the assignment is irresistible (and time-consuming, I warn you). It is also difficult to focus on just one piece here because they are all worthy of mention, but let me draw your attention to "Don't Prey for Me" written by Caren Beilin from an illustration by Verity Keniger.
If you click on the image above, you should see a larger version. You will probably even be able to read the entire text. The imagine is evocative, prompting the question of whether the leaves are adhering to the blank canvas of what is intended to be a tiger or if the tiger is shedding its ill-suited garb where one might have expected stripes. And then you turn to the text, and confront defied expectations.
"I have not even dreamed. And I do not watch those specials on TV. I have not read that poem by Blake and have not myself wondered at its spirited mechanisms. Its lungs like dark bells clanging death to deer. A woodshark. Its teeth unfurled from its heart. Its muscles full of dark, of violet drink that pumps demonology into its head. A woodgod."
Now imagine an entire book filled with such captivating pairings. That may be enjoyed outright for their craftsmanship or explored in depth as a reflection of process for both author and illustrator. Art informing art. The possibilities are stunning.
One thousand produced. I own #641. The website indicates that there are still some available, and there is time to meet the shipping deadlines before Christmas. But time and books are limited if this catches your fancy or if you know a print or design junkie that needs some holiday love. Addictive. Gorgeous. Will prompt glorious flights of imagination and will potentially exceed the power of the internet to command one's attention and time for a spell. Imagine that.