Two spellbinding memoirs which detail paths out of grief via art.
Artist Tom de Freston has long had an obsession with Géricault's painting The Raft of the Medusa, and the troubling story behind its creation. The monumental canvas, which hangs in the Louvre, depicts a 19th century tragedy in which 150 people were drowned at sea on a raft lost in a stormy sea, when the ship Medusa was wrecked on shallow ground.
When de Freston began making an artwork with Ali, a Syrian writer blinded by a bombing, The Raft's depiction of pain and suffering resonated powerfully with him, as did Géricault's awful life story. It spoke not only to Ali's story but to Tom's family history of trauma and anguish, offering him a passage out of the dark waters in which he found himself. His book Wreck masterfully bring his story and that of the painting together.
After the sudden death of his father, Nick Blackburn embarks on a singular, labyrinthine journey to understand his loss. How do you create an existence when all you can see is a void?
The Reactor is a memoir about absence and creative possibilities, assembled like the pieces of a puzzle. Through philosophy, music, fashion, psychology, art and film, Blackburn travels a vast panorama of ideas and characters to offer an entirely new exploration of grief. This is a book about looking for and finding chain reactions and human connection - a work of enduring fragmentary beauty.
Nick Blackburn c. Christa HolkaTom de Freston c. Kiran Millwood Hargrave