Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tout Seul - Brandon Pedersen

1. Kevin Merriman, Francophile extraordinaire, nobly provided translations for this French tale, which I promptly ignored upon opening the book. Near as I can tell the primary MICE quotient in play here is actually character. It may seem to be an event, as a seemingly innocuous note is the impetus behind his change, however, it is the evolution of the protagonist, whom I shall call Quasimodo, that becomes the focus of Chabuté's Tout Seul. Quasimodo is a monster of his own making. Physically malformed, he is a self-imposed recluse, collecting the discarded treasures of the world in an abandoned lighthouse, a goldfish and a dictionary his only company. He spends each night picking random words from the dictionary, imaging their definition in his mind. His world is an abstract of incorrect visualizations conjured from the definitions in his dictionary. Particularly enjoyable was his imaging of a violin, played by turning keys, actual keys that would open a door or bureau. Quasimodo, through a note, chance encounter with a magazine, and pictures of the world, is drawn from his shell, making contact and eventually choosing to leave his island. He becomes dissatisfied with his vicarious experiences, and grown tired of his seclusion. He disembarks the next time the fishermen arrive, ready now to experience the world personally.

2. Not speaking French I can't speak to cleanliness of the language but on visuals alone, straight up G. There's not a single objectionable visual in the entire book. Page #76 has an interesting detail breakdown of a kitchen. It has nothing to do with the rating but it’s a fun page to look at.

3. Pages 137 through 144 contain a terrific visual breakdown of the fishing process. Admittedly the line has already been cast but slowly reeling in until a tug is felt, then applying consistent force with increased reeling speed is shown perfectly. If one were unfamiliar with the process of fishing, research would have to be done. The visuals were so specific it provided some insight into the knowledge of the artist; he chose well which aspects of angling to draw so that the action was clear to the viewer. Unaccompanied by words the images not only communicate knowledge but mood as well.

4. While fishing in itself doesn't help my story, like Chabuté, careful consideration of which aspects of a process to visualize will allow cleaner communication between the artist and audience.

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