So are 20 pictures worth 20,000 words?
As I start my latest book, I realize that it’s a memory book, based on 20 photographs. The book is Jonathan Coe’s The Rain Before It Falls. The thought occurs to me that, though as far as I can remember, this was not the reason I chose this book. Maybe it was. I don’t remember. The thing is though, I’m drawn to books like this. A book that revolves around a photograph. A painting. Found artifacts. I wonder how many books I could read in a row that were similarly structured. A lot I’d bet.
Let’s see which ones I can recall. Just off the top of my head.I know there’s Richard Powers’ Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance. There are the wonderful novels of W. G. Sebald, which incorporate photos and paintings into the novel itself. Part of the landscape, Eco plays with images as memory and paths to memory in similar ways to Sebald. As in The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana. Of course there’s the popular Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. Hubert’s Freaks, which I read back in July would fall under this broad umbrella, I think.
I know I’m leaving several out. And I know I’ve just scratched the surface. I have an itch to go on a binge of sorts and make this a theme type read for awhile…….