A darkly playful, vibrant life – and oh, the pictures!,
I must confess it was the artist part of the title, and the promise of the illustrations which captivated me into wanting this book, and hearing it talked about on the radio. Bainbridge’s writing is often blackly comedic, but the pictures are a revelation, a combination of vibrant colour, a blazing kind of naive wonder, delicate etching and unfettered imagination. These are certainly skilful works, but her lack of intense formal training is a plus, not a minus – these works do not seem to belong to some school, or observe some dictate of what is acceptable and what is not, and the almost rustic, homely quality which shines out is joyful and accessible.
The book itself is beautifully presented, any e-version must be disappointing, this is one of those books which makes the reader appreciate the whole experience of looking at, handling, and breathing in a physical book, the quality of the pages, the gloss on the plates, the vibrant gold bookmark.
I really did love this, and it will send me back to re-read Bainbridge’s work, through the life and art connections Hughes explores.
I received it as a review copy through the Amazon Vine Programme UK
Beryl Bainbridge: Artist, Writer Friend Amazon UK
Beryl Bainbridge: Artist, Writer Friend Amazon USA