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Monday, July 20, 2015

"The Principles of Uncertainty" by Maira Kalman

I've had this book for a long time (it was presented to me as a gift the very week it was published) and I never took the time to read it right away.  I certainly appreciated "The Principles of Uncertainty" by Maira Kalman the moment I picked it up.  It is a heavily constructed volume.  While it is only 336 pages, for a book it's physical size it feels like holding a heavy encyclopedia volume in your hand.  My guess is that the hardcover can withstand nuclear Armageddon and not have a scratch on it.  The physical feel of the book is perfectly emblematic of its content.  Simply put, Kalman's book is one of those rare ones that fits John Updike's description of a book perfectly ("A book, in every relation to the human mind, hand, and soul, is a perfect thing.").

What awaits the reader inside is a combination between art and thoughts that will encourage a soul to take pause and simply rest.  Many of the entries are based on family biography, but Kalman writes simply and beautifully about these characters and they appear warm and familiar.  There is no doubt Kalman is a great artist and this volume also depicts an insightful and thoughtful writer.  Many of the entries are carefully balanced between a stream of consciousness and artfully crafted compositions.   A year is simply not enough for Maira Kalman's beautiful artistry and vision.  I will be looking at her other books soon.


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