2/23/12

How Artistic

As I mentioned yesterday, I recently read A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. I wasn't sure what to expect, because, yes, I judge books by their covers, and that is a creepy cover. Not the sort of book I would ever read naturally.

But after finishing the Chaos Walking trilogy {which, if you haven't read, you should} and reading E. M. Bowman's review {it was her favorite January read}, I decided I really couldn't miss something written by Patrick Ness, even something that had such a vague summary and creepy cover.

I wasn't disappointed. The book is classic Ness {though not, it's worth mentioning, classic Todd, the hero of the CW trilogy; which is a tribute to Ness' brilliance in changing voices}. It's haunting, it's deep, thought-provoking, and if you are the crying sort of person, you will cry.

{not my book, not my hand}
But it's also unique. It's more square than rectangle, thinner rather than taller. The pages are thick and slippery. And few pages are void of illustrations. Images encircle the words, twist through them, affect the formatting. The words and the pictures are one. It's beautiful to read, as if the story is really and truly inside of the setting and by reading the story yourself, you are stepping into the world.

Some pages have no words at all, only pictures. I thought this was just a cool feature until Ness ended a chapter with these words:

     "He climbed the stairs, not even bothering to wash off the dirt and dried blood. As he passed his grandma's room, he saw from the light under her door that she was still awake.
     "He could hear her in there, weeping."

Any picture I take won't do the moment justice, so a description will have to suffice. Upon turning the page, the reader is presented with a two-page illustration. On the left-hand page is nothing but the bottom half of a mirror on a wallpapered wall, and on the right-hand page is the bottom half of a closed door, light showing through the crack underneath. As if you were walking down a hallway at the height of a child.

Ness' writing is powerful, the way he separates his paragraphs, words his sentences. But when you turn the page and don't get more text but only a picture, a picture of how the text feels...that is art. That is capturing a moment.

It's beautiful. I could talk about how this will weave with the e-book revolution, how I think this is where books must go if they want to remain books instead of files, but I'd rather just gush about how beautiful it is. How artistic it is. I've long said that stories are works of art, but now I see what can be done when the art of words is combined with art in the traditional sense, art with images. And it's magnificent.

2 comments:

Traci Kenworth said...

I haven't read any Ness yet, but I will now. Thanks for the reccomendation!!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've heard his name, but I've never read any of his books. It's definitely looks creepy!