Ashes, Ashes

Ashes, Ashes

by Etienne Delessert

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Returning home from a long journey, an unusual creature that seems half man, half rabbit meets three mysterious strangers who exhort him to make a pilgrimage. He proceeds to shed his skin, wash away his face, change his name and set out again, this time seeking the ``truth.'' After a sequence of odd, allegorical adventures that comprise the book's opening, the hero comes home again, and the strong implication is that soon he will be off on yet another voyage. The illustrations in Ashes , Ashes are stunning: their impeccable composition and mysterious details powerfully evoke an eerily inviting twilight world. The text, however is a dense, highly symbolic poem written in loose, jagged free verse. Because it is arrhythmic and unrhymed, Delessert's oblique work does not lend itself to being read aloud to children--the overwritten text will prove difficult for adults, let alone youngsters. All ages. (Aug.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-- This melancholy fable has panoramic illustrations, a poetic text, and a sorrowful subtext. The narrator tells of his meeting with a ``thin lady . . . with dried flowers,'' who asks, ``Do you hear the horn?'' He does. Soon after, he meets three men who inspire him to change his shape and take a journey in search of the truth. The narrator is then seen--he has a child's body with a rabbit's head--and off he goes. When he lands, he meets others like him and they live happily together, eventually constructing a dam. Then the idyll begins to pall, and the narrator once again hears the horn calling him. He walks until he can hardly hear it, ``So I played my own song loud.'' Delessert seems to be saying that utopias are impossible because they are created by beings who carry the same desires and ideas that make them necessary. Draped in a text full of unexpected, surrealistic detail and language that is, by turns, lyrical and portentious, this seems remote from the interests of most children. Delessert's watercolor art extends the ideas in the narrative , surrounding the words with dark swirls of gray, forest green, and foggy white, occasionally pierced with sharp gleams of gold and red. His rabbitlike protagonist is more alienating than imaginative. There is beauty here in both language and illustration, but one must ultimately ask if the intended audience is really children. --Christine Behrmann, New York Public Library

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Limited Editions Ser.

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