Kevin Crossley-Holland and Andrew Rafferty
Kailpot, £15
ISBN 978-0955686047
Review Rob Ixer

Terse, heightened prose relates a set of nested journeys: a Beaker chief to his death and hinted excarnation, his daughter with his body to death-rites at Woodhenge, and the poet’s pilgrimage from his Cotswold heimat to Holme-next-the-Sea on the East Anglian coast. The word-crammed text, with a nod to Old English rhythms and cadences, is opposed by full-page, highly impressionistic/semi-figurative photographs, many within a restricted colour palette, that progressively travel mono-tonally towards a final, almost blank, shrouded canvas.

Although this can be taken as a 15-minute read, like most serious art, it is personal (once or twice intrusively so) and words and images repay – increasingly languid – repetition and closer inspection. Travel slowly, hawk-eyed, through this volume. (A dialect dictionary and the short afterword’s explanatory background and black-and-white images of Seahenge are of great assistance, increasing the book’s depth.) For the price of a couple of coffees and a packet of Hobnobs, this slim, deceptively slight, decorative, flamboyantly restrained landscape book is worth finding some table room for.

This review appeared in CA 355. To find out more about subscribing to the magazine, click here.

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