09 March 2013

A book in search of (another) vision

RECKLESS, by Cornelia Funke.

Started reading it, put it down. Picked it up again, couldn't get into it. The thing I found it hard to get past was that it felt like the reader was dropped into the middle of the story, and I couldn't wrap my mind around what was happening or why there was no back story at the front, so to speak. It made it hard to care about the characters. I worked up a bit of a block, but I finally HAD to read it, for my 6+7 Book Club at the library, and now I have to say that I have fallen for this book! And the reason is all about the imagery.

Her descriptions are rich, lush, tactile, visual, completely evocative. This book so longs to be illustrated, and I can see the pictures in my head--I wish I had the skill set to do it!

It needs an Arthur Rackham, or (better) Edmund Dulac, or (maybe) Kay Nielsen, or...?

Maybe somebody more modern, but with that fairy tale sensibility, and a bit dark. Maybe Nadezhda Illarionova. Or Jean-Baptiste Monge. Somebody lovingly focused on every detail, somebody with patience, somebody with vision, somebody who can draw and paint from their imagination instead of needing something to look at as a model. Somebody with that level of ability and vision should take this on and turn it into the fairytale equivalent of a graphic novel.

Funke has commissioned the special effects company Mirada to create a Mirrorworld App for the iPad to go with this series. We are getting a special preview of the app this week at Burbank Public Library. (Thursday night, 7:00 p.m., Buena Vista Branch at 300 N. Buena Vista in Burbank--please come by, if you're local.) They did an amazing job: The app features a lot of back story on some of the peripheral characters, plus a panning feature that lets you look around Chanute's Tavern, embroidered panels that tell the Tailor's story, a segment on the botany of Mirrorworld, and a lot more. I can see why their rendition is so inspired--but I still say, Illustrators, step up!

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