Beautiful Design Necessary Compassion,
This review is from: Found (Paperback)Found - Souvankham Thammavongsa - Pedlar Press
If you like books that marry content and design well, one real gem, that should take the silver medal for design in 2007 has to be Found. The cover lets you know what the design is all about: space and a few words, so that you focus entirely upon them. The front cover has one silver line on a navy blue background. This book is from her father's scrapbook - and some of her own words, later, written in 1978 while her parents were living in a Laotian refugee camp. This is a book about understatement.
Souvankham's father was not literate and his scrapbook could not be called a diary in the usual sense of the word. But Pedlar Press has done a fabulously understated design so assymetric, Asian, so simple that it makes you feel humble in its unadorned, bleak, thin, grey gruel of humanity stunted words of a man who had no words but was compelled to write down the little that he thought. And the photo of Souvankham at the end looks down and away, so that it would be hard to recognize her from the photo. Perhaps it is small because of her father; I don't know. A few pages before the end, the single downstroke of the cover is understood to mean that on that day, or week or month, he stroke it off and there was nothing to be said. And it was also his record of captivity - when you look at a calendar of each day stroked out, it is a captivity, a striking off of what has been of little value, but is gone.
Read his daughter's acknowledgements at the back of the book. They will tug at you if you are human, and that will make you want for there to be a place for bare pain reduced to sadness to be kept safe from all the damage of the world. There are many names in this list, and so you will know, that many people feel this way, too. This book is the memory of what is spare. The book will not take long to be read, but it will rest a long time in you once it has been read. This is a good thing. Thank you, Souvankham.