Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Review of Victor Halfwit by Thomas Bernhard (translated by Martin Chalmers and illustrated by Sunandini Banerjee)

Victor Halfwit: A Winter's Tale

4.5 out of 5: Victor Halfwit is a (very) short story by Thomas Bernhard. Seagull Books, with the help of translator Martin Chalmers and the invaluable contribution of illustrator Sunandini Banerjee, has elevated this story to a work of art with this lavishly illustrated edition. What would easily fit on two pages has been spread over more than two hundred pages, many of which contain just a couple words or even no words at all. Without a doubt, Banerjee’s illustrations take center stage in this production. Composed of intricately layered collages in lush colors, these illustrations are gorgeous and eye-catching. Their surrealistic elements and juxtapositions of images from different time periods complement Bernhart’s prose, and the book’s high production value, including thick creamy paper and flawless color printing, show off Banerjee’s art to great effect. Bernhardt’s simple fable, however, cannot support the weight of its powerful artistic accompaniment and ultimately reveals itself to be nothing more than flimsy scaffolding. Read this book for the art or give it as a gift but don’t expect much from the story.

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

What an odd concept for a book! It sounds interesting, but I think I might be slightly disappointed that there is no real story within the pages. I probably would have never heard of this book elsewhere, so thanks for covering it!