0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
a treatise on the real female condition, 6 Sep 2007
Dark and sombre in spades this is clearly a book conceived by women for women, reflecting on commonly held angst, doubt and trauma that shapes the way women feel and act. It should be compulsory reading for all men, and is a cautionary read in that context. But there is humour too, clever and concise - always understated, presumably so that the reader is freed to personalise the stories to their own life experiences. What we have here are two consummate artists, one expression through pigment and one through prose, providing an extraordinary complimentary interpretation on a common theme.
Losely based on the structure of classic fairy tales the treatment is very adult, littered with sub-plots and parallel themes, they stand continuous re-reading like any good work - except now you get he chance to uncover nuances in both prose and art.
Formed out of individual tragedies in the loss of close relatives the book sets the scene through an examination of the story of the eponymous Eve. Is this an architype for all women who 'followed'? The theme is set as the search for happiness, marred by personal doubt that leads to self-destructive behaviours, which man caste not in the role of Adam but as the serpent - or is the serpent the avatar for failure?
Big bad wolf would seem at first sight to be reflecting on the destructiveness of sexual obsession. But wait, as in most of the stories the masculine presence is feeble and ineffectiveness and it is the dependency of the feminine that is both the hope and the destruction. A surprise in the tail...
Ugly duckling is a treatise on eternal hope and the waste of life that such a course of inaction leads to. At first funny it is in finality pathos and I personally felt angry at the principle character at the close. A warning? For all teenage dreamers, most certainly.
One blind mouse shows us how easily we will compromise what we are in order to be validated - and call the result love.
In Humpty Dumpty the principle character is stalled by indecision. Every side of the fence has its plus points so why not stay where you are? Decisions are liberating whether they are right or wrong and fence sitting is always uncomfortable.
Snow White explores idealism and the fact that perfection isn't a happy state. After all it's the imperfection that truly gives us character isn't it?
In Genie we learn the interconnectedness of our choices and the imbalance that results from an unreasonable focus on the obvious.
Beauty and the beast. In the original both protagonists were shown to possess beauty but life, as we know isn't alwasy that simple and the true nature of beauty is sometimes a variable feast.
Through the looking glass is an examination of the threat of age and the fear of lonliness, which these days is only too real in an aging population. Are we more frightened by what we perceive that the reality delivers?
Cinderella for me is about how we can destroy a perfect pairing through thoughtlessness and how we can spend the rest of our lives trying to recover a state of balance that we carelessly let slip from our grasp.
Our mothers are always undervalued, and like so many precious things in our lives we really only understand the impact they have on us when they are gone. If you're able, seize the moment and express the love you'll find in this tale to the one person we never think to say it to. Well, not enough at any rate.
Father Time is an existentialist treatise. What is time if not a convenient link between then, now and whats next?
Ugly Sisters is an exploration of the duality of our lives and as us as our harshest critics. Deserved? Who am I to say?
A words about the art as the experience of the book is all the greater for its contribution. You will have your favourites. I have mine. In each case it's the juddering imagery that underpins each take. Vivid and stark they are mirrors to our psyche - or just very nice paintings. You decide. For in the end you have to anyway.
Given the price it may seem strange to speak in terms of a bargain but the production is lavish and one of the best books I own, in terms of quality and vibrancy. Make no mistake, to have a copy on your coffee table will mean that you will never have to work hard to break the ice with your house guests!