Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Windflower by Nick Bantock

Nick Bantock has a mysterious originality in his work. His series beginning with Griffin and Sabine, allowed the reader to peek into the private correspondence of a designer of stamps who lives in the South Pacific and an artist who lives in London. By “peek,” I mean that literally – some pages have envelopes pasted to the page, and the reader must lift the flap, remove the sheet and read the letter. Fascinating, thrilling, mysterious, and completely absorbing.

In Windflower, he has written a more conventional tale about Ana, a young woman forced into marriage for economic reasons by her parents. As the ceremony is about to reach its conclusion, a violent wind sweeps in, and Ana takes the opportunity to run away. Her grandfather has told Ana her destiny lies in another direction.

This adult fantasy has the feel of something placed in the middle ages, but a few times we are reminded it is firmly in the present, or at least the near past. Ana suddenly has a “torch” or flashlight, and she sees then flies in an airplane. His characters are as interesting and mysterious as the story itself.

Along with the wonderful mesmerizing prose, Bantock’s illustrations have a warmth and beauty all their own. His illustrations alone make his books collectible.

Except for some instances hokey, clichéd dialogue, an almost perfect piece of literature. 4-1/2 stars.

--Chiron, 11/22/09

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