Writer: Maja Kastelic
Publishing House: Annick Press
Date of Publication: September 11th 2018 (first published January 7th 2015)
Rating: 5 stars
I’ve always believed that visiting a gallery and looking at the works of Art is a unique experience. I find it almost transcendental. From well-known masterpieces to contemporary abstract creations, a painting is a highly mystical, cryptic experience. When we read a book, the story is told to us, we love it (or not) and move on. But a painting is the vision of the artists, known only to them, unfolded on the canvas. What we make of it is our own perspective. Take the unique Mona Liza, for example. When you stand before her, you cannot help but wonder. Who was she? Why is she smiling? What did she know that we don’t? And when we try to explain, we immediately form stories. This is what is going to happen when you have the beautiful chance to ‘meet’ A Boy and a House by Maja Kastelic. A story without words, a comic that will make you close your eyes and daydream. Or take a notebook and, perhaps, write your own scenes and dialogues. One thing is certain. The illustrations will transport you to the innocent, beautiful world of children.
You will see the nightly streets, beautiful houses with red roofs and big windows. They did remind me of Ljubljana (Kastelic is from beautiful Slovenia) but it could be any lovely European city. Faces are looking through the lace curtains at us and a young boy who’s walking, smiling, carrying his school bag. It’s evening. Where is he going? Where was he? A woman in a red dress is passing by, a girl wearing a polka-dot frock is peering at him through a half-opened door. Mice are dancing, lit by the street lamps, a dog is smiling, black birds are resting on the rooftops, the antennas and the chimneys lit by the moon. The streets aren’t ordinary. The boy is passing ‘’Grimm Street’’ and a house where a poet named Francois Sad was born. He decides to enter a house in Andersen Street following a gray cat. So, you see? The boy is walking through tales to discover a treasure.
In the house, there are books, children’s drawings, keys, dolls, cages. Photographs and beautiful paintings, old records, teapots, cards, woolen spools. Everything is scattered, everything has its own place. The house seems abandoned and occupied at the same time. And the cat leads the boy to a beautiful surprise.
A story without words, a comic that has all the ingredients of a complex tale. Each one of us can create a thousand stories just by looking at a single item in the marvelous pictures by Maja Kastelic.
Many thanks to Annick Press, Maja Kastelic and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
*All illustrations by Maja Kastelic*