Whoa. I have no idea what the hell this book is about –if indeed it’s about anything at all– but I like it.
The spiritual and artistic successor to Chris Van Allsburg’s 1984 masterpiece The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, German illustrator Einar Turkowski’s Houses Floating Home is comprised of surrealist graphite drawings accompanied by vague captions. A lighthouse on a hilltop is inexplicably juxtaposed with a robot shooting light out of its robot eye and captioned “Calm – Impatience.” Why? I don’t know. Is it good? Yeah, it’s awesome.
And that one’s the most straightforward of the bunch; the majority of the drawings are so weird I don’t even know how to describe them. A sand dune; a ship wreck; fish sticking their heads up out of the sand, speech bubbles coming from their mouths; one is “speaking” a croissant; one is “speaking” a turret; one is “speaking” a mouse. The caption: “Desert – Ocean.” What does it mean? WHAT. DOES. IT. MEAN?
These majestically evocative images are smile-inducing works of genius. They are phenomenally gorgeous without a doubt, and equally baffling, which is half the fun.
They command wonderment and, despite yourself, may inspire you to remember how you saw the world as a kid. Kids will marvel at the strangeness, and their imaginations will spring to life conjuring stories for the images, ascribing meaning to the (seemingly) meaningless. Your grown-up imagination will be spurred, too, if you allow it.
There are recurring ingredients: Mice, homes, numbers and letters, tethers… Do they have true significance? Are they red herrings? Maybe don’t think too hard on it; just enjoy.
I don’t know what this book is about. I don’t the Why of anything associated with it. But I do know that it’s fantastic.
Kinderlit.ca received a copy of Houses Floating Home in exchange for an honest review. Read about our Review Policy HERE.