#BookRevi:ew B: A YEAR IN PLAGUES AND PENCILS by EDWARD CAREY @BelgraviaB


ABOUT THE BOOK


‘I blame the pencil. I hadn’t meant to do it. I wasn’t thinking. It just happened that way.’

In March 2020, as lockdowns were imposed around the world, author and illustrator Edward Carey published a sketch on social media with a plan to keep posting a drawing a day from his family home in Austin, Texas, until life returned to normal. One hundred and fifty pencil stubs later, he was still drawing.

Carey’s hand moved with world events, chronicling pandemic and politics. It reached into the past, taking inspiration from history, and escaped grim reality through flights of vivid imagination and studies of the natural world. The drawings became a way of charting time, of moving forward, and maintaining connection at a time of isolation.

This remarkable collection of words and drawings from the acclaimed author of Little and The Swallowed Man charts a tumultuous year in pencil, finding beauty amid the horror of extraordinary times.


PUBLISHED BY GALLIC PRESS


PURCHASE LINK


BELGRAVIA BOOKS

MY REVIEW

This was a fascinating, absorbing and beautiful way of looking back at a year in lockdown. All through the eyes and stunning pencil drawings of the Author, as he began a project in March 2020 to draw a picture a day and upload it to social media until the madness of Covid left us…. he soon found the project carried on a lot longer than he had planned!

But having that distraction helped him cope, and the fact that many people online would eagerly anticipate the daily drawings kept him going and it is wonderful to see them all together here in this beautiful book! The words too strike a chord with his reflections on a very weird time in our history – his hopes and fears for the future mirroring our own! And how the simple action of committing to this project to begin with helped him cope with the uncertainty that each day brought.


A lesson to us all really in finding something to distract ourselves and giving ourselves a different focus each day. I do something similar with photographs on Blipfoto, and just having that outlet each day is a great way of dealing with life and all it throws our way! And it’s a wonderful way to look back over a period of time, as with these wonderful drawings that Edward Carey has put together. It reflects his mood on each day, those in the news, various historical figures,animals and memories and the attention to detail is so intricate and captivating.

I loved his honesty and frankness in the journalling side of this project. His yearnings to return home to London, and his experiences of lockdown in Texas and it just made for a wonderfully extraordinary piece of work for a year none of us will ever forget!

My thanks to the team at Gallic Press for a copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★★

#BookReview THE SWALLOWED MAN by EDWARD CAREY

ABOUT THE BOOK


I am writing this account, in another man’s book, by candlelight, inside the belly of a fish. I have been eaten. I have been eaten, yet I am living still. From the acclaimed author of Little comes this beautiful and haunting imagining of the years Geppetto spends within the belly of a sea beast.

Drawing upon the Pinocchio story while creating something entirely his own, Carey tells an unforgettable tale of fatherly love and loss, pride and regret, and of the sustaining power of art and imagination.

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website – signed hardback

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

This is a re-telling of the story of Pinochio, from the viewpoint of Geppetto as he sits inside the belly of a fish, and you can’t help but be transfixed by the haunting desperation of a man as he looks back on his time as a parent, albeit to a wooden boy he created.


This is an extraodinary story and really centres on the despair and loneliness of a man, who created a boy to share his life with and the impact that had on him. The lengths it has driven him to when the little boy runs away. As Geppetto sits inside the fish awaiting his fate, he writes his story down on paper to share with his son, along with drawings and it is striking on how much his childhood was impacted by his own father and how that has shaped him as a man and father to Pinochio.


From the moment his son takes shape from the wood he uses to carve him, we see the impact of that relationship on both sides. How the meanness of Geppetto affected the young boy, but over time the father/son relationship strengthened and he grew to appreciate the company that having a family brought to him.


These are the books that I love to read! They’re quirky, different and aren’t afraid to approach storytelling from a different viewpoint. It shows the darkness and insanity of loneliness in stark terms and you’re left with an overwhelming sadness for Geppetto as he looks back over his life.


One sentence really stuck out for me especially ‘I crept about in the background of life’ and that clearly showed how he felt undervalued, and unloved until this little wooden boy appeared in his life to give him a purpose in his lonely life.
A stunning little book.

★★★★★

#BookReview Little by Edward Carey @BelgraviaB

About the book

‘Don’t miss this eccentric charmer!’ — @MargaretAtwood

‘Edward Carey’s Little is one of the most original historical novels of the year.’ — The Sunday Times


“There is a space between life and death: it’s called waxworks”

The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals alike, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud.

In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Alsace. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation. As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling: The revolutionary mob is demanding heads, and . . . at the wax museum, heads are what they do.

Edward Carey’s Little is a wonder – the incredible story of a ‘blood-stained crumb of a girl’ who went on to shape the world

Published by Aardvark Bureau

Purchase Links

Belgravia Books – with signed print £14.99

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

What a way to start off my reading year in 2019! This was an astonishing piece of historical fiction and I cannot recommend this highly enough as I’m sure you’ll fall in love with ‘Little’ Marie as she comes from very humble beginnings to being part of the world of wax that still lives on now!

When Marie loses both parents before she turns 6, she finds herself taken under the wing of Doctor Curtius, a peculiar and quirky man who creates body parts from wax, and their bond is particularly touching.

When they move to Paris their relationship changes, the Doctor has his head turned by the ‘widow’ and Marie soon finds herself in a particularly sad and lonely space. The treatment she suffers is heartbreaking but she refuses to crack under the pressure and just hows how spirited she is and how determined she is to make something of her life.

The connection between various characters is what makes this book I think, along with the wonderful settings and situations that Marie finds herself in. From being beaten, to living amongst the splendour of the palace of Versailles – I just couldn’t put this book down at times as it was just so beautifully written and staged.

The addition of beautiful illustrations scattered throughout the book really added to the reading experience and I’m just itching to pick this back up and enjoy it all over again! It was a wonderful story that really connected the historic moments in the life of Marie with humour, sadness, creativity and tenderness.

Already guaranteed to be on my best books of 2019 list and we’re only a few days into January! Need I say anymore!!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟