Monday, August 11, 2008

judging a book by its back cover...

back cover images of robert pinget's the voice

back cover images of robert pinget's the voice

back cover images of robert pinget's the voice

back cover images of robert pinget's the voice

back cover images of robert pinget's the voice

back cover images of robert pinget's the voice

back cover images of robert pinget's the voice

i picked up a nice hardback copy of robert pinget's book "the voice" about a week ago. the interesting thing is that it's the first time i've purchased a book solely because of the back cover. seeing the words "the voice" on a spine was enough to get me to pull it down, but the front cover led me to almost put it back. curious about the text, i flipped it over, expecting to see a description, and i was immediately drawn to the series of images of what i believe to be pinget himself, involved in various activities with a ladder in a french garden (he might be in the south of france, and seems to be looking for someone he lost...)

i have to say i've never read any of his books, so i am anxious to read his voice; but it is interesting that his work is often compared to beckett's (and indeed pinget and beckett shared letters for over 20 years...), because this series of images could easily be a strange solo outdoor performance of a beckett play.

i don't know how it happens that these things get inside of me so deeply; but as i carried the book around with me, surveying every shelf in the store, i kept flipping it over, nearly obsessing over these images. part of me wanted to put the book back, but part of me knew i had to take it home. i'm still not sure why the images spoke to me in such a strong way.

now, i begin to wonder if the text could ever work me the way these images do - if it might be less compelling in light of, unfortunately, having to compete with the power of these photos - to speak in a voice wholly its own, outside of the resonance the photos have left in me.

the ridiculousness of 'collecting' books like this, is that words are supposed to be a book's primary value, but this isn't the part i find myself gravitating towards. it's the object that has its own power, and rather than spending time reading, i find myself only looking. this thing needs to be held with eyes fixed upon it. maybe i'll simply never open it...

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5 Comments:

Anonymous billy g said...

i used to purchase books in this manner until i ran out of space or money...forget which...ah, college.

7:12 PM  
Blogger zoe tati said...

man and a ladder...
it's metaphysical stuff...

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Reminds me of Hannah Maynard's photo-collage work from the late 1800's in Victoria:

http://www.onfocus.com/2003/08/3280

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Oh damn...that comment was supposed to go with the article above.

11:48 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

hi jamie, thanks much, i didn't know her work, great stuff!!!!!

7:28 PM  

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