Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A weighty book on a delicate life

  (image from here)
I very much enjoyed Julia Blackburn's book on Goya and her Book of Colour, and so when I saw her most recent volume, Threads, the delicate life of John Craske, I wanted to read that.  Full of pictures of Craske's work - paintings and embroideries, as well as other photographs - it was obvious that I had to have a book rather than an electronic manifestation, so I ordered it in time for me to take on our trip to Skye last month.  Well - I had not allowed for the weight of the paper used in the making of this book!  Thick and glossy, the hard back weighs a tonne - slight exaggeration - so, I left it behind on my books-to-be-read-sometime-soon-ish pile.
 (image from here)
Reinforcing my desire to read another book by Julia Blackburn was my reading of reviews of this book ( e.g. here and here) as well as the link with the Norfolk coast which had made quite an impression on me when we visited earlier this year.  John Craske lived there, was a fisherman, and was 'by, with, and from' the sea.
 (image from here)
I am about half-way through the book, and am thoroughly enjoying it.  The life of John Craske itself is sparsely documented, and so would in theory lead to a slim volume.  However, one of the aspects of Julia Blackburn's writing which I please me is her telling it all.  She explains her thinking and motivations.  She describes her researches both ordered and casual, her encounters and her experiences in places where Craske lived or worked - often nothing really to do with him specifically - such as when meandering through the lives of other folk in Norfolk, such as Einstein and the Elephant Man.  The book is not only a biography of the subject, but also an autobiographical recounting of the pursuit of that subject. 
 (image of Julia Blackburn from here)
I'm loving it.

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