Top positive review
Far from meaningless, even if page 42 is missing.
on 11 February 2018
Here is the full text of page 19 of this jolly jeu d'esprit:
"THIS IS A CHOICE
1. PICK A NUMBER BETWEEN 1 AND 221.
2. GO TO THAT PAGE.
3. FLIP FORWARD FIVE PAGES. (IF YOU CANNOT, THEN FLIP BACK FIVE PAGES.)
4. DO WHATEVER IS ON THAT PAGE IMMEDIATELY."
Note, however, the dilemma in following this instruction for those who choose to go to page 42, that number being the Meaning of Life for all hitchhikers in this galaxy. Page 42 is missing from this non-book. On the reverse of page 41 is a blank but numbered page 43, analogous to the Canada/Mexican border in the 1926 Surrealist Map of the World. The full pagination is of 212 physical pages, each with two sides, numbered in serial order from 1 to 221 (except for the missing page 42, starting after pages [i-iv].
All the pages have some content except for the following: page [iv] is a left-hand (reverse) page and is completely blank and the paper is white; pages 4, 14, 22, 26, 32, 38 ,43, 45, 49, 53, 59, 61, 67, 75, 85, 93, 97,101, 107, 111,115, 117, 119, 123, 125, 131, 135, 147, 151, 153, 155, 157, 161, 167, 169, 173, 175, 181, 185, 189, 193, 199, 203, 205, 207, 209, 213, 215, 217, and 219 are all also left-hand white blank pages (except that the Arabic page number in black is at the bottom left of each page; page 6 has no text except a “6” in white against a uniformly turquoise background. This means that with a total of 52 blank pages (one for each week of the year?), this non- book is particularly good value for those for whom blankness provides scope for creativity. As Mao Zedong said ("Introducing a Cooperative", 1958):”On a blank sheet of paper free from any mark, the freshest and most beautiful characters can be written, the freshest and most beautiful pictures can be painted.”
This hommage to Magritte, Duchamp, Borges, Perec, late Joyce and the Qin Emperor (whose flames made all the books into non-books) is seriously entertaining. It would have been even more challenging if each page had been written in a different language – the blank pages being in different extinct languages. However, Keri Smith has produced an apt alpha-numeric alternative to the Turing-test: no AI machine could ever decide how to comply with all these inventive instructions.