The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy Hardcover – 7 Dec 1998
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Occupying a similarly sinister and macabre world to the American artist Edward Gorey Tim Burton's work is similarly difficult to place. This is a beautifully produced book filled with fine line drawings--many in colour--illustrating 23 small verse stories which all centre on a surreal deformity--the eponymous Oyster Boy, Stain Boy, The Boy with Nails in his Eyes, Junk Girl, The Pin Cushion Queen...The tales are all quietly disturbing. As with Burton's cinematic work (Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas and Mars Attacks) the book seems aimed at children but the subtexts feel too disquieting. This however is where Burton's genius lies. Children are outcasts in the adult world and their own notion of what is important, grave, frightening and odd is different to ours. We each remember the child inside of us and so are each compelled to recognise the otherness within ourselves: the outcasts that Burton paints are somehow strangely well known to us. As dark and disturbing as the best fairy tales Burton shares a space with the Brothers Grimm--a place that all children know exists when the lights go out and the adults leave the room. --Mark Thwaite
'Burton's creepy stories conjure up the fantastical, even the slightly demented.' -- Entertainment Weekly --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Each story is simply, yet beautifully illustrated by Burton who designs the sets, costumes and mise-en-scene for his films in the same intricate manner. The illustrations are almost childish but provoke a feeling of deep sorrow in the reader. Each illustration is roughly coloured with faint watercolours enhancing the fragility and innocence of youth in these individuals. . In contrast to the saddening drawings, the poems are surprisingly funny in a twisted, typically Burton-esque way. The stories are a complex combination of humour and tragedy, disguising deep and serious subtexts with a light hearted mask.
Although this book has the appearance of an illustrated storybook for children, the macabre subjects of the stories and satirical humour can only be fully appreciated by adults. But it is the childlike and innocent nature of the book which makes it such an unusually enchanting and cherished read.
The little book is eloquently illustrated in his most creatively bizarre style, a book for all Tim Burton fans.
Tim Burton's unique style has been fully reflected in this dark but splendid piece of work. If you like his movies, you will like this book and will hang on to it forever.
I bought this book for that name. The content is exactly what I wished for - an eclectic group of disfunctional gothic characters, that while creepy, are sincerely endearing. The stories of these doomed children are of misfortune, each due to a unique hamartia, a fundamental fault (for example, Stain Boy, whose disadvantage is pretty self-explanatory - I should add that he is now the titular character in a series of animated shorts on the website AtomFilms). Each tragic tale is written in the form of rhyming verse, and each poem paints a truly disturbing vignette of a character that you will either deeply empathise with, or find vehemently repulsive (it is an odd combination that Burton pulls of effortlessly). Many might consider the work allegorical, highlighting the burden of idiosyncratic flaws that ail the outsiders of human society - others will just relish the sinister humour, sympathetic care and fervent artistry of the writing and illustrations.
The verse is well-crafted, and the watercolour paintings of the poor ailed children are evocative and deliciously haunting. I'd recommend this to any Burton fan, both adults, and children that like a bit of light-hearted horror (as I did as a child, loving 'Nightmare Before Christmas' so much in my early years). I reluctantly drop one point due to the fact that its very short, and probably not something for every mood. Also, people who don't share a delight for Burton's vision of the gloomy fairy tale should probably give this a miss. For the rest of us, this is a highly enjoyable read that will please on many levels.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Funny, gore, bittersweet - like life itself sometimes, as Tim Burton points it out. Worths reading it again and again.Published 3 months ago by LeeAnn LaRue