When Two Crafts Collide . . .
by C. K. Thomas
The six books of The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy and The Morning Star Trilogy represent one of the best examples of blending the crafts of writing and art to create fascinating literature. Through his writing and art, author Nick Bantock allows readers the irresistible, vicarious experience of reading other people’s mail.
Throughout the text of these clever books, the reader enjoys devouring letters plucked from envelopes incorporated into their pages. Intimate exchanges, scribbled in each character’s own hand on the backs of colorful and exotic postcards, beg to be savored.
These trilogies take us on a mysterious and mystical adventure not unlike the ones encountered while reading storybooks as children. The tactile experience of removing the letters from their envelopes, reading the cursive handwriting, and then replacing the letter as if to obscure the fact that someone unauthorized has been intruding into a cache of private correspondence gives the excellent plotline an added punch.
The plot itself employs magical thinking and reminds me in a small way of the 2014 movie “In Your Eyes.” In the movie, two people frequently see scenes from each other’s lives as if looking through the other’s eyes. Unlike the movie, Griffin and Sabine speak only through their postcards and letters, but never seem to be able to meet. Within this plot twist lies the mystery that keeps suspense alive.
Recently I called your attention to the book A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids, by Margot Datz. This book also falls into the category of “where art and writing collide.” I’m sure there are other books with this same kind of meeting of the arts, and I’d love to know about them as they have become a fascination for me. Somehow it seems a shame that novelists let themselves be limited to word pictures only. Unfortunately, I haven’t got an artistic bone in my body except for the one that allows me to write. It would seem to be infinitely more fun to write a novel illustrated with tantalizing works of art, but then I’ve never tried it, nor investigated hiring an artist to work with me. Have you?
C.K. Thomas lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Before retiring, she worked for Phoenix Newspapers while raising three children and later as communications editor for a large United Methodist Church. The Storm Women is her fourth novel and the third in the Arrowstar series about adventurous women of the desert Southwest. Follow her blog: We-Tired and Writing Blog.