Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The Thorn and the Blossom
Illustrated by Scott McKowen
Quirk Books, 2012
Source: Received a review copy from Amazon Vine.
I first heard about this book due to its unique appearance. It has accordion-fold binding with a story on each side. One side is Evelyn's story; the other is Brendan's. They cover the same period but only reveal what each person is thinking at that point in time. There are also some (black and white) illustrations that made me think of engravings and a very beautiful box to hold the book.
Honestly the book was a little awkward to hold and I ended up bending a few pages but it's so short that it shouldn't be too much of a problem when you go to read it for yourself. Part of the gimmick is that you can read either story first so I chose to start with Evelyn and I'm really glad I did. Both of them have their surprises but I think finding out Brendan's through Evelyn's eyes was more satisfying than the other way around would have been. Of course, you are free to do as you want!
Again it's not a long book but the gist is that Evelyn and Brendan meet in his small hometown in England where he recounts the legend of Gawan and Elowen. After a serious misunderstanding, they are separated until a reunion years later at a small Virginia university where they have both created literature around that legend of love. More misunderstandings with an ambiguous but hopeful ending come.
The problem is that it's so short; 38 and 39 pages respectively so there isn't much room for the character development I like to see. Things just happen and I was left wanting more to flesh out the story.
Overall: Cool concept and lovely packaging.