Day: April 21, 2014

Book review: The Fool’s Journey

The Fool's Journey: the History, Art, & Symbolism of the TarotThe Fool’s Journey: the History, Art, & Symbolism of the Tarot by Robert Michael Place
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Published to coincide with an exhibition of tarot art curated by the author, The Fool’s Journey sits in a weird position. It’s a little too complex to be just an exhibition catalogue, but it’s also too slender to be a fully-considered work on the tarot. (Place is a respected artist, tarot scholar and has written more lengthy works on the cards, lest it be thought I impugn his credentials as a well-researched writer.)

Part of the difficulty with the book is that I think it’s a little user-unfriendly, at least as far as the layout goes. It’s a larger-format book, which is excellent for the graphics, but the text pages are one-column and stretch the whole page, making navigation difficult and reading a little tiring. I believe it’s a self-published work – the publisher’s address appears to be the author’s – so that explains some of the errant typos that appear through the work. It’s not a deal-breaker, though it does knock the faith in the work a little.

The good, though, is the amount of graphical reproduction on hand. (more…)

Book review: Hey Nostradamus!

Hey Nostradamus!Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hey Nostradamus is the story of absence, told by a quartet of characters. It’s direct, chilling and full of yearning, and will relentlessly bum you out if you’re feeling down.

It’s interesting – while I recall Microserfs as being both grim and amusing, this title is mostly grim. There’s some beautiful turns of phrase, though – some crystal-clear moments of almost theological brilliance. Fitting, I suppose, as one of the characters (paterfamilias Reg) is as pursed-lips holy-roller as you’ve seen in print. His section of the book – the last – is in particular filled with a sort of quiet beauty. (more…)