Thursday, July 23, 2009

RATE IT! Important Artifacts...

Hands down, this ingenious book by Leanne Shapton is my next book purchase.

'Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelery' -- not only beholds one of the longest titles ever encountered but also one of the quirkiest reason d'etre. You would be hard pressed to find a cooler storytelling technique.

Focusing on a series of personal miscellany, kooky knickknacks & heartfelt notes once held privately by the fictional coupling of the aforementioned Lenore & Harold, 'Important Artifacts' is set up like a public auction catalogue. Much like when a famous person dies and their personal effects end up on view & purchase via wealthy auction houses, these items are laid bare upon the demise of Lenore & Harold's love. Photos of everyday random objects mingle within the pages, witnesses to the birth of Lenore & Harold's four year relationship, its passionate life & eventual death. A smashed cup, a smudged handwritten note, stolen salt & pepper shakers all gather to tell their part of this fantastic story. 

And here's where Shapton excels & really nails the whole relationship thing on its messy head. We all accumulate 'stuff' from daily personal interactions, from friends & lovers - inconsequential items that resonate with a feeling, with a memory related to person once (or still?) deemed special. A crumpled receipt cherished from a favourite eatery where you dined on your first date. A pressed flower remaining from a bouquet gifted by an ex. Even ticket stubs from a memorable concert -- we're all guilty of collecting such life keepsakes. Most objects in the hands of others not associated with their special-ness would just be seen as life clutter. What's a stolen salt shaker without its human context but a rogue table accessory? Suffice it to say, in the eyes and heart of the beholder, it's probably a token from a night to end all nights, full of passion, laughter and unbridled excitement. One person's trash is always another's beloved treasure...especially when wrapped in memories.

I'm well & truly hooked. If you are too, check out Leanne Shapton speaking about her novel from her own perspective. You'll never regard your old relationship souvenirs in the same way again.



2 comments:

Boston Red said...

This sounds so interesting! I will be adding it to my book list.

Lose That Girl said...

Now having read this book, I encourage everyone to go out and buy this treat of a journey. It's lovely and really unique. :)

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