Marta Chudolinska; BACK FORTH: A NOVEL IN 90 LINOCUTS (GRAPHIC NOVELS); Porcupine's Quill (Graphic Novel) $19.95 ISBN: 0889843139
The rise of graphic forms in recent years has brought visual art to the centre of contemporary literary criticism. Stepping into the fray with her wordless novel Back Forth: A Novel in 90 Linocuts Polish-Canadian Marta Chudolinska challenges readers to interpret and understand the meanings conveyed by images alone. Her work is grounded in tradition; predecessors like Giacomo Patri and Helena Bocharakova published political works using similar techniques in the 1930s. Chudolinska for her part displays a keen attention to the process of meaning-making.
While Chudolinskas linocut images themselves are compelling and thought-provoking Back Forth benefits greatly from its foreword; in it visual artist and printmaker George A. Walker provides a historical and theoretical framework through which readers may enter potentially unfamiliar territory. Walker points to hermeneutical concepts raised by Alberto Manguel and Martin Heidegger (and by extension alludes to the study of semiotics) in his introduction to the novel.
The remarkable thing about a book like this is that it is at once open to wide interpretation (what Walker suggests is that teleportation might also be read as dream- or memory-sequences) and is presented in a very concrete art form. In ninety linocuts prints made by carving the relief of a desired image into a piece...