Thursday 13 February 2020

Publication Day Book Review ~ Bad Island by Stanley Donwood

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Hamish Hamiliton
13 February

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
A wild seascape, a distant island, a full moon. Gradually the island grows nearer until we land on a primeval wilderness, rich in vegetation and huge, strange beasts. Time passes and things do not go well for the island. Civilization rises as towers of stone and metal and smoke, choking the undergrowth and the creatures who once moved through it. This is not a happy story and it will not have a happy ending.

Working in his distinctive, monochromatic linocut style, Stanley Donwood carves out a mesmerising, stark parable on environmentalism and the history of humankind.

What did I think about it..

Years ago, at school, I dabbled in learning how to produce images from lino cut. There was something about the starkness of monochromatic images which appealed to my sense of order, so I've been especially thrilled to see a copy of Bad Island which is a beautifully styled graphic depiction of our world through its many evolutionary changes.

There are eighty stark and graphic monochromatic drawings which take the viewer on an emotional journey from the first glimpse of a distant island, with the effects of natural progression, from dinosaurs, through to the industrial age, and beyond, with the ever present and very relevant threat of our imminent environmental destruction.

On opening the book I looked through it quite quickly to get a feel for where the author was taking me, and then, once I'd finished the first look through,  I immediately started again at the beginning and looked, very carefully, at each image, taking in the important message the author was conveying in each thought provoking image.

I've been quite mesmerised by this book which, without any needs for words, puts into stark perspective the changes which have occurred over time, and the warning is, of course, that we face the loss of everything if we continue to ignore the effects of environmental damage.

Bad Island is disturbing, emotional, stark, and quite, quite scary and the effect of its message will stay with me for a long time.

Recommended : Absolutely ✅ 

About the Author

Stanley Donwood is a graphic designer, artist and writer. He has worked with the British band Radiohead since 1994, producing the artwork for all their albums and promotional materials. He is also the author of numerous books including Catacombs of Terror!, Slowly Downward and Small Thoughts. His collaboration with Robert Macfarlane, Ness, will be published in November 2019.




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