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The Lost Lions
Format: HardcoverChange
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Note: I received a review copy of this through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme.

Pomegranate provides a treat for Gorey fans with this new edition of a title from 1973 which has been long out of print as a standalone book, although it was available in omnibus format. Hamish, a beautiful young man who likes being outdoors, opens the wrong envelope one day, and finds himself on a path to fame and fortune in films. He finds this to be less appealing than one might imagine, and prefers to raise lions... The story is told in a bare 14 pen-and-ink illustrations with one sentence per illustration, and can be skimmed in a few minutes, but Gorey does a great deal with those 14 illustrations. It's not as blatantly macabre as some of Gorey's work, but still has that eerie, off-kilter humour that was his trademark. And the book might take only a few minutes to read the first time, but you could lose yourself for hours looking at the detail in the drawings and thinking about the things implied therein.

There are other books which are more accessible to new readers and I'm not sure this one would be ideal as someone's first introduction to Gorey, but you don't need much familiarity with his body of work to appreciate the faintly sinister whimsy of The Lost Lions.

At US$13, this edition isn't cheap, but you do get what you pay for. Pomegranate have a done a superb job on the physical production side. The book is a small hardback with high quality paper in sewn signatures, and crisp reproduction of the pen-and-ink illustrations. It's laid out with one sentence and illustration facing each other per page spread, on a 6 inch square page size that makes it easy to take in the whole illustration at once while still being large enough to see the fine detail. The cover illustration is in colour, but the interior illustrations are in the original black and white. If all you want is access to the story, there are other options, but Pomegranate's new edition is a gorgeous presentation that's a joy to handle. This is a perfect "indulgent treat" for anyone who loves both beautiful books and Edward Gorey.

My review copy came packed with two Pomegranate catalogues, and one of their Edward Gorey bookmarks, which was a nice item in its own right, and I think well worth the $2 catalogue price if you like nice bookmarks. It's crisply printed on heavy stock, and comes in a heavy plastic protective sleeve, from which it can be easily removed if you prefer to use it without the sleeve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 October 2014
Short, rather sad little work, following Hamish - a 'beautiful young man' - in his outdoor life (Aran sweater, knee-socks and sporting a fine moustache, climbing a mountain.) The movie business, which brings him fame and fortune (and the opportunity to keep lions - lovely picture here, bringing to mind the author's own interest in cats), leads to his becoming 'unstrung' and taking off for S. America (naked and bearded in the jungle, still occupied in keeping his journal.)
Rather uncertain ending, but very solitary feeling - as he returns to visit his lions from a trip to a publisher and finds the animals have been sent to Ohio for the winter - cue image of our hero looking out over snowy waste.
Very short and at first reading seems to be about nothing, but Gorey implies a very lonely existence - even to this individual, gifted with looks and wealth.
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