A gorgeous, hardbound, soft-cover book, its jacket glazed with a waterfall of red droplets under an azure blue title arrived (literally) on my doorstep yesterday: Volume Two in the Trunk Books series, brain and heart child of editor Meredith Jones and designer Suzanne Boccalatte. It was a delight to have a poem included in the first volume, titled Hair, and equally thrilling to see a short story nestled in the pages of the second, titled Blood.
It does feel ‘nestled’; these books are like treasure troves of curios, acute observations and evocative images. This is how Trunk Books describe themselves: ‘Trunk Books are compendiums of writing and art. They are handsome, coveted objects filled with a curious mix of media much like an old trunk in an attic.’ These books do indeed remind me of an attic room in the family home of my maternal line where, as a child, I spent hours sifting through the accumulated items of sixty years in a large family. There were old trunks full of different bits and pieces – clothes, brooches, hat decorations, silk flowers, buttons, coins, books, medals, cards and letters – that had belonged to siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, all of different character, yet together the trunks and their contents created a very specific ‘atmosphere’ that transported me into another time and mode of life.
Pearl Red (The Hunt of the Unicorn) sits in the company of a disparate array of essays, stories, poems and images themed around the social and cultural significance of blood, which is rich and fascinating, sometimes grim, at others illuminating. Pearl Red captures a moment in the legend of the Lady and the Unicorn, which had its peak in the medieval era, most famously in two suites of tapestries, The Lady and the Unicorn (Cluny Museum, Paris) and The Hunt of the Unicorn (Cloisters Museum, New York). The former tapestry weaver in me has a big smile on her face to see Pearl Red flanked by the most well-known image from The Hunt suite, the penned unicorn.
A big thanks to Meredith Jones and Suzanne Boccalatte for producing another lush and beautiful volume in the Trunk series!
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