Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Rief Larsen's lost images

Rief Larsen's new release, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, includes drawings, diagrams and graphs, attributed to the narrator and protagonist (T.S. Spivet, a twelve-year-old genius cartographer) and produced by Larsen. I haven't got my hands on a copy yet, so I can't comment on the success of the integration, but of great interest is that on Amazon.com, Larsen discusses his motivation for integrating the graphic elements:
"I initially wrote a draft of The Selected Works without any accompanying illustrations. After reaching the end, I still had that tingly feeling that usually means something is missing, and so I thought about it for awhile and realized that in order to really understand T.S., we actually need to see his drawings laid out on the page. T.S. was most comfortable in the exploding diagram or the annotation or the bitchin’ bar graph; this marginal material was where he would often let down his guard and reveal something he wouldn’t otherwise in the main text."
Larsen also provides an annotated list of "lost images" – graphic elements he produced but decided against including, with reasons why. A film director is allowed, in 'special features' additions to DVDs, to include 'lost scenes' for the dedicated to access, why not the novelist?

NOTE: I got a copy and I had to take it to my parents house so I didn't start reading it (NO reading, only writing) because it's a beautiful thing. I can't wait.

2 comments:

Jonathan Walker said...

Is it a coincidence that several of the novels that fit your definition have protagonists who are precocious children or adolescents, and are, moreover, told from their viewpoint, so that the typo/graphic elements are tied explicitly to that viewpoint? Just something that struck me today ...

Zoe said...

Hi Jon,
No, I don't think it's a coincidence. It feeds into the idea that new readers – confident articulating in images as well as words – are emerging. Children in contemporary fiction belong to this new generation of readers. But there are a lot of hybrid novels that aren't narrated by children/adolescents, too.

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