The Wanderer


Midway through the journey of The Wanderer, a small, paper boat, it seems to be worshipped by a packed, vertically organised audience of fish. What do they see? Who are these fish? Thereafter, where is this little boat headed and who created it?

It journeys beneath monstrous night thunder clouds, past monumental icebergs and into ice caverns. It seems to be the an object of curiosity for those it encounters, from deep sea divers to fantastic marine life. Its path is hazardous, terrifying and mighty. At each page turn we are mesmerised by the next adventure step.

Peter Van Den Ende’s The Wanderer is a glorious and curious spectacle that merits reading, rereading, questioning, sharing and treasuring. Bookwagon is awed by this outstanding book.

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The Wanderer

Peter Van Den Ende

(Pushkin Press)– hardback

The Wanderer opens with a huge square of white paper being folded by two figures. It seems that one is a demon. Thereafter, we wonder what are they doing? They create a boat that is big enough for them to sail within, yet they slip it into a huge sea, where we realise its tiny status alongside a huge, character-laden, novelty sailing ship. Yet, what is the destination of this paper sail boat?
It sweeps across a huge open sea, seemingly followed by flocks of seabirds. Will it survive the avalanche of sea turtles, the slap of a giant whale, the wealth of a giant sea reef. Might the boat take a crew of sea creatures? Will it pass through tunnels of sea swamps, or lagoons? What miracles will it see and realise? Mammals alighting upon long forgotten wrecks? Broad night skies?
It seems as though wordless books such as The Wanderer demand additional attention. When you consider the effort and focus employed to create such a piece as this, or Vita and Ethan Morrow’s The Whale, such a level of scrutiny is the least we can give in return!
The Wanderer is a mighty and wonder filled,created in intricate, monochrome detail. There is so much to think about, question and revisit. Where is the little boat headed? Will it arrive?


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