A graphic novel called The Aviary, featuring a creature called the Quiet Bird-Man? The Magpie was intrigued to say the least. Artist and writer Jamie Tanner has created a truly amazing book that is a collection of sixteen short stories, penned in a simple and striking black and white style. The stories are funny, sublime and pulse with the ache of loneliness and searching. They may seem like nonsense to the casual reader, but looking closer, it's not the stories being told, but the underlying themes that Tanner cleverly weaves into his tales. Reminiscent of Edward Gorey, these strange and unique characters living in this insular world create a new reality in love with a fanciful, old-timey charm. Along with the human characters are dog inventors, talking robots and photographer penguins, all coming to terms with with a sense of frailty so real that the environment of dry whimsy is the only way to face it.

It's difficult to describe this book in matter-of-fact terms. To describe one of his stories in matter-of-fact terms is to short-change the subtext that is gained through the experience of reading his words and viewing his artwork. I purchased my copy through Tanner's account on Kickstarter, a unique way of supporting independent artists to get their work published, which included a signed copy of the book and a truly delightful thank-you note. Sailor shaking hands with a giant squid? Pure genius. Take a look at Tanner's artwork on his website, JamieTanner.com and if you see this book on a shelf, give it a try, as you will no doubt be swept away with a blink of a Quiet Bird-Man's eye.
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  1. This sounds exactly like my type of indulgence. Thank you!

  2. lovely work! inspiration for artist-writers, such as...?

  3. Thanks for being such a fan of my blog! I love hearing what you have to say - and I always enjoy having the opportunity to read yours.

    I can't wait for us to actually meet in the flesh someday!


  4. What a gorgeous style this book has. It seems a true piece of art. I will definitely check it out. Thanks!


Merci buttercups! Your comments are appreciated! (hit the 'post comment' button twice, sometimes it's buggy)