not even sure how to describe it. written in the 17th century, it's weird and fun and one of those poems that shows you the wonderful things you can d...morenot even sure how to describe it. written in the 17th century, it's weird and fun and one of those poems that shows you the wonderful things you can do with language.
even without comparing it o selznick's previous work (hugo cabret), this story feels just "okay". the pictures and words were very jarring for a long...moreeven without comparing it o selznick's previous work (hugo cabret), this story feels just "okay". the pictures and words were very jarring for a long time (too long) though it was clear there were two stories being told in parallel here. also, for me, it just lacked a certain quality of wonderment (ironically). and if i WERE to compare, i would say that wonderment was SO vivid in the previous work. here, the characters were kind of pale, the museum felt oddly sterile, the climactic diorama just sorta lay there, and even though i finished the book in one sitting, i mostly just pushed through rather than being driven or pulled along in any way. the mystery that is at the heart of it just isn't that significant and the primary protagonist is rather dull.
also, there were some real head-scratcher behaviors throughout. characters conveniently omitted important information or, in one long critical instance went on and on in a manner no person ever relayed a significant story to another. some of it just flat out didn't make sense for me and after reading the notes at the end, i felt like the concept for the book was more interesting than the book itself.
still, it's entertaining and i love the format and hope to see more works experiment with the visual side of storytelling like this. (less)
from the opening words penned by michael caine, to the beautiful photos and presentation, to the final notes, this book is a joy and a must-have for f...morefrom the opening words penned by michael caine, to the beautiful photos and presentation, to the final notes, this book is a joy and a must-have for fans of Nolan's trilogy. wish it had been twice (three times!) as long, but i'm slowly learning to live with the finiteness of all things.(less)
this is one of those slight, almost not-there books that you can read in probably under an hour. the story is mildly intriguing, but nothing to get ve...morethis is one of those slight, almost not-there books that you can read in probably under an hour. the story is mildly intriguing, but nothing to get very excited about (like a throwaway episode of the Twilight Zone). i really only bought this because of the art ~ because i could look at Zulli's pictures all day. and this one is exceptional for its story being rendered in paint rather than just straight inks. while some of it looks a bit hurried to my eyes, the overall effect is very satisfying even if the story is nothing to write home about.(less)
I love Deland's personification of Chester throughout this book--she certainly has an original voice for her era. Similarly I love that she writes of...moreI love Deland's personification of Chester throughout this book--she certainly has an original voice for her era. Similarly I love that she writes of the past (Price and Morris were young people in the 1820s and the current story takes place in the 50s or 60s ~ hard to tell as there's no mention of the War).
This is sweet, entertaining, and has some memorable characters. The illustrations by Alice Stephens Barber are too few, but gorgeous and romantic ~ would love to know what they looked like in color (if they were done in color).
Moon does a pretty good job of "rescuing" Darger from the clutches of psychoanalytic readings that would make him out to be a latent (or overt) child-...moreMoon does a pretty good job of "rescuing" Darger from the clutches of psychoanalytic readings that would make him out to be a latent (or overt) child-killer sexual-sadist, with some very astute observations about the popular culture of Darger's formative years. I don't agree with everything Moon says and I think he still misses a few critical points, but for its intention, I think this book is excellent.
I had to knock off a star because this is pretty dense academic reading and some of it feels a bit much to me (a whole chapter half-devoted to Branwell Bronte could have made its point in half the pages). Also, there's a lot of proletarian blah blah blah that (for me) just detracts with too much speculation from the essential goal, which seems to be to normalize (insofar as it can be) Darger's work.
Overall a necessary first step in appreciating Darger's impetus without calling him out as some kind of creepy fiend. The weakest piece of the book lays in comparisons to the pulps of the 20s-30s (Lovecraft, Bloch, and Howard); point taken that lurid entertainment was prevalent, but given that there's no evidence that Darger ever read this stuff (and no discussion of that point by Moon), rather than serve as some kind of "evidence", it actually raised more questions for me.
This book will not make sense unless you have some grounding in Darger and his work. Watch Yu's documentary In the Realms of the Unreal first, or read MacGregor's monumental work Henry J. Darger and the Realms of the Unreal. Without a grasp of the scope and emotion of Darger's writing and art, and at least some sense of MacGregor's analysis, Moon's book might leave readers grasping. (less)
macgregor's analysis is almost as repetitive, compulsive, and eccentric as darger himself, but you have to give him props for the undertaking. conside...moremacgregor's analysis is almost as repetitive, compulsive, and eccentric as darger himself, but you have to give him props for the undertaking. considered the "definitive" text on darger, this wrist-breaker of a book is both gorgeous in its presentation and exhaustive in its research. the problem with darger, however, is that there's so little to go on (outside of his massive opus, that is). so we're reduced (if such a word can be employed here) to examining parts of the text of In the Realms of the Unreal and trying to draw conclusions from them.
other critics of this book are justified in saying macgregor goes overboard in emphasizing darger's "genius" and personally, i think his psychoanalysis relies too heavily on freudian hyperbole. but he does insert interesting points and, all things considered, his analysis of darger's violence and sexually-charged sadism is probably the more tempered part of the work. long comparisons to lewis carroll and serial killers, however, seem to dilute the investigation; feels like he's just grasping. and without real substantiating evidence to assert that darger may have been sexually abused as a child or teenager, macgregor tends to put the impetus of rage on darger's abandonment and the loss of his mother and sister ~ too much emphasis, in my (probably useless) opinion.
all that nit-picking aside, this is an amazing work. one only has to spend a short time immersed in darger's words and pictures to enter into what macgregor calls his psychosis, but which i would emphasize is his refuge: a place over which he exerted total control, where the world conformed to his understanding and needs, and where he could perpetually punish himself and anyone else who had ever done him harm.