red roses for me

An unexpected postcard & mysterious message to draw you in as it draws the recipient Griffin Moss into a correspondence with Sabine Strohem that spans three wonderful & magical books written & illustrated by Nick Bantock. The first of the trilogy, simply titled Griffin & Sabine was published in 1991 & has gone onto to sell over a million copies as have the other instalments, Sabine's Notebook & The Golden Mean, maybe proving there's more of a voyeuristic streak in us then many people would care to admit?

You're instantly captivated, I opened the package from Chicago, & just flicking through the pages & seeing the stunning range of illustrations I knew I'd been sent the perfect present. Every other page features one of these beautiful drawings, painting or collages a mixture of surrealism, humour, darkness & confusion. Turn the page to find the other side of these postcards & get immersed in the world(s) of the British postcard artist & the illustrator on a small island in the south pacific whose lives are linked in the most fantastic way. If that wasn't enough at regular intervals instead of postcards you find envelopes & inside them letters to remove from the book & read. Creating this real sense you are actually witnessing the blossoming of absolute love & devotion or a descent into madness.

This is the real twist in the story, does Sabine exist or is she a creation of Griffin's depression & loneliness? If so how does he receive the cards & letters & if she does exist how is it at one point she apparently stays in Griffin's house while he travels the world but is unseen by his neighbours? The story makes as little or as much sense as you make it I think, depending on your emotions the premise & even the ending will have an interruption that maybe only you will reach & after you've reread it all again & again & studied the pictures for vital clues you may dismiss everything you previously thought.

Nick Bantock has produced a unique trilogy with these books, a story that works as a work of art that holds unique meaning to each viewer/reader & a set of books for adults which you can get almost childlike pleasure from as you turn each page to discover the next surprise.

Griffin & Sabine - ISBN 0877017883
Sabine's Notebook - ISBN 0811801802 - All by Nick Bantock.
The Golden Mean - ISBN 0811802981

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