The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

4.5 Stars

This is one if the loveliest books I have seen in a very long time, a true artifact.

It is rather on the large side and somewhat heavy, not a book for carrying around at any rate. If anything I would liken this to a coffee table book, though smaller in scale. Its nature requires a long sitting, a true sustained perusal. This is a book to be savoured. Each tale and sculpture must be given their due, and understood in context with each other and within the greater context of the book as a whole. The format of the book lends itself to this kind of understanding.

Each sculpture is prefaced with the Grimm tale that spawned it, making the book a true testament to a relationship between the arts, the one that inherently exists, and the ones that are sought after and deserve to be fostered. It is also a testament to the ekphrastic nature of creativity. One thing this project strives for, and attains (alongside many other attempts in contemporary media, some more successful than others), that I particularly enjoy, is a kind of reclaiming of the Grimm tales from where so many other retellings have taken them in contemporary culture. This book leaves me with a firm impression of a very unique and insightful voice, and one I hope to see tackle more ekphrastic projects.

Published September 1st 2016 by Walker Books Ltd.



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