grist

 

Thursday, August 21, 2003
Banged out The Tattooed Map by Barbara Hodgson, which was disappointing (1 star). It is a decorated design book--a novel version of the Griffin and Sabine books, and I had high hopes for the premise: a woman travelling in Morocco has a map mysteriously begin to appear on her arm. It spreads and hints at a journey she needs to make, and hints at a train of others drawn into the same journey. She disappears and her companion tries to track her down. Sounds interesting, right? And it was lovely--scrawled notes, old maps, serene black and white photography, elegant design. The problem was that it never went anywhere, and there was not enough substance within the elements to give the story a center. The design elements decorated rather than contributed to the story, and the writing itself was slight with occasional lumps of sudden change. I felt set up for a sequel. The evanesence of the original Griffin and Sabine was charming--and the more intense design there took some of the load off it being meaningful--its whimsy felt appropriate, where here it feels unsatisfying. I think there is still real potential for an amazing book of this sort (and maybe Barbara Hodgson will produce it), but this is not that book.



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