What kind of book is this? The drawings and narrative feel like a poetic children’s book. But the creator suggests it’s more of a meditative book … something to put on the night stand and read a couple of pages before bed after a long day?
Whatever it is, it’s pretty to look at.
These watercolor paintings (created before the story, according to the author’s introduction) feature a woman in a winter wonderland nature environment, curling up with bear and hugging fox. It’s a fantasy world where fish fly in the sky, as do winged rabbits, and a ship at sea becomes a dragon.
There is a very pastoral quality to the artwork and they certainly do have a calming effect. I am reminded of the Japanese sumi-e style of brush and ink paintings. The fact that the women painted here are quite Asian in appearance (not just their features, but their clothing) likely contributes to this feeling.
But whereas the artwork guides the reader to a sleepy melancholy, the narrative is just odd enough, or poetic enough, to make the reader sit back up and think “Huh?”
I refer to the written portion of the book as ‘the narrative’ because on the one hand, there isn’t much story. On the other hand, the narrative builds on the character established, so it seems like one long story. But … the author even states that this book shouldn’t be read cover to cover. So which is it?
There are people who like this book, and that’s really great. There are people who paid for this book to be created – it is published by a company that is a crowdfunding publisher – and that’s great. But I really didn’t get the enjoyment or satisfaction from this book in the way it was intended. It was nice to look at, the ‘story’ did absolutely nothing for me, and while I wouldn’t actively tell people not to read this, I can’t imagine a day when I’d be interested in reading this a second time.
Looking for a good book? The Unwinding by Jackie Morris is a children’s picture-book style book, with beautiful art and poetic narrative, for adults who haven’t quite grown up. It’s pretty to look at once or twice, but it’s not really recommend-worthy.
I received a temporary digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Unwinding and Other Dreamings
author: Jackie Morris
artist: Jackie Morris
hardcover, 180 pages