Kaleidoscope is a superb collection of interlinked short stories by the magisterial Brian Selznick.  Each story is preceded by two of Selznick’s trade mark black and white illustrations – first a kaleidoscopic fragment and then a linked image both to the story and the kaleidoscope.

There is a recurring theme of longing and loss, but this doesn’t mean that the stories are depressing.  They are uplifting and optimistic and play homage to a missing friend – or is the friend imaginary?  This feels like another of Mr Selznick’s classic tales of imagination and wonder.

Bookwagon recommends this superb creation to mature readers who seek tales to pore over. Kaleidoscope is a classic, essential, glorious creation.

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Brian Selznick

(Scholastic) – hardback 

Kaleidoscope feels like we’ve stepped into a classic story. In words and pictures Brian Selznick describes the longings of adolescence in a moving collection of short stories.  While each story involves an unnamed 13-year old narrator and a friend called James the stories appear as dream fragments. Moreover, each is a journey or a meditation.  Thereafter, each is introduced by Selznick’s trademark black and white drawings. However the first is  a kaleidoscopic image, followed by one related directly to each story.
There are recurring themes of loneliness, loss and longing for an absence.  Many of the stories have repeated images – such as a ship, a key or a library.  The reader is drawn into speculating about James. Who is he? An invisible or imaginary friend of the narrator? Or a beloved friend, now gone? However, the grief over his absence is palpable.  Furthermore, this book is a quite wonderful meditation on loss and longing.  The short stories may be dipped into at random, for they do not appear to be part of a linear narrative.
Bookwagon is lucky to stock several of Selznick’s quite brilliant graphic novels and picture books, such as The Marvels and Wonderstruck.
Brain Selznick’s web site is a fabulous insight into his art and story-telling, as well as his eclectic career to date.


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