The Singing Bones
Illustrated by Shaun Tan
Foreword by Neil Gaiman
A brand new outlook on the Brothers Grimm Tales, Shaun Tan provides inspiring and thought-provoking images to correspond with each story. Each tale has an excerpt from the original story, and Shaun uses objects that are so realistic and primitive-looking that you can almost feel them through the picture. Each object looks worn and touchable, tempting you to reach into the page and hold it, stroking the material while you read the story. Each picture embodies the story- it is not just a single snapshot from a scene in the story- it embodies the entire thing. Shaun Tan uses lighting and color to draw your attention to certain details and focus the aesthetic of the art. The foreword by Neil Gaiman is very attractive to any reader who knows his works, and the foreword itself is well written and causes the reader to gain interest in the artwork, as well as the artist. I think that this is a really interesting book that changes your view and interpretation of the Grimm stories in new and insightful ways. However, the book only contains excerpts from each story. You almost don't even need to read the stories themselves, as "a picture is worth a thousand words." Shaun Tan, using his skill and insight, manages to illustrate the entire tale through one singular image, conveying the entire story while giving the emotions that go along with its components through lighting and how the clay is molded. If you want to see the Brothers Grimm Tales rather than read them, enjoy this book!
If you are interested in seeing more by Shaun Tan, visit http://www.shauntan.net/books.html
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
By Julie Berry
A young woman in 12th century provincial France preaches to her people, and performs miracles that could only come from the divine. The Catholic Church, fresh from the crusades, seeks to “purify” the soul of christendom, and secure their hold on Europe. This young woman, Dolssa, refuses to be silent, and is branded a heretic. The Church hunts her across the land until Botille, a matchmaker in a small seaside town finds Dolssa on death door, nurses her back to health and hides her. However, with the Church bearing down on them, they only have so long, and the more time Dolssa spends in this town the more the Church will likely damn it.
Julie Berry weaves a tale of feminism, religion, and the thin line between being a saint or a heretic in medieval Europe. The prose of the novel is gorgeous, littered with Provincial French, and the characters are captivating. Botille and her sisters are outspoken and feminist in a time when women had few if any rights. Dolssa is an innocent whose words come from truth. She is also courageous and in the face of overwhelming power refuses to be cowed. The whole novel is told from many perspectives including those who pursue Dolssa. We are given a whole narrative and see both side of a complex history. The end in many ways feels inevitable, but the book is an epic ride the whole way through.
This book is a provincial meal. Full bodied and complex the book brings many different events, symbols, and themes together in harmony. It creates an image of a world long gone, but just as visceral as glancing out a window. The deep faith of Dolssa, and Botille’s belief in her grasps the reader, and after every twist you only become more attached. This book is one of the best pieces of historical fiction I have read in a long time and fully deserves 5 stars.-Claire