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Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty…
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Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty Views

by Matteo Pericoli

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This book collects contributions to a series of posts that began in The New York Times in August, 2010, ran for a year, and then began again a year later in the Paris Review Daily blog.

Each month, architect and artist Matteo Pericoli created pen-and-ink illustrations of views from the desks of writers around the world based on photographs taken in authors’ homes and offices, along with notes and short essays by those writers about where they write, what they see, and how the view influenced their work. Fifty such pairings are included in this book.

Readers will enjoy finding out about how and where authors work. Gay Talese, for example, never washes his windows, so the view will remain “opaque.” (I’m totally using that one next time somebody asks me why I don’t clean the windows.) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie likes to look at the people she sees outside her window: “I watch them and I imagine their lives and invent their dreams.” Alejandro Zambra acknowledges that his books would be very different if he had written them in another room, looking out a different window. And Daniel Kehlmann interestingly mentions what his view does not include. He writes, “Absence can’t be captured, not even with the best camera…”

Those who write themselves should especially love this book, which allows a very intimate look at the quotidian work processes of famous authors.

The book also serves to remind all of us of how the simplest aspects of our surroundings affect us profoundly, but often we grow too used to them to notice anymore. As Pericoli observes in his introduction:

"It is hard to pay close attention to those things that are part of our daily routines. ‘They will still be there tomorrow.’ It is often when we are about to lose them or have just lost them that we realize their importance.”

Of course, this is true for people in our lives as well. Pericoli shows us what a difference it can make to pay attention, and appreciate what we have before it is gone.

Evaluation: This book would make a wonderful gift for yourself or others, and is especially recommended for those interested in finding out more about the creative process. ( )
  nbmars | Dec 1, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159420554X, Hardcover)

Fifty of the world’s greatest writers share their views in collaboration with the artist Matteo Pericoli, expanding our own views on place, creativity, and the meaning of home

All of us, at some point in our daily lives, have found ourselves looking out the window. We pause in our work, tune out of a conversation, and turn toward the outside. Our eyes simply gaze, without seeing, at a landscape whose familiarity becomes the customary ground for distraction: the usual rooftops, the familiar trees, a distant crane. The
way of life for most of us in the twenty-first century means that we spend most of our time indoors, in an urban environment, and our awareness of the outside world comes via, and thanks to, a framed glass hole in the wall.

In Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty Views, architect and artist Matteo Pericoli brilliantly explores this concept alongside fifty of our most beloved writers from across the globe. By pairing drawings of window views with texts that reveal—either physically or metaphorically—what the drawings cannot, Windows on the World offers a perceptual journey through the world as seen through the windows of prominent writers: Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul, Daniel Kehlmann in Berlin, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Lagos, John Jeremiah Sullivan in Wilmington, North Carolina, Nadine Gordimer in Johannesburg, Xi Chuan in Beijing. Taken together, the views—geography and perspective, location and voice—resonate with and play off each other.

Working from a series of meticulous photographs and other notes from authors’ homes and offices, Pericoli creates a pen-and-ink illustration of each window and the view it frames. Many readers know Pericoli’s work from his acclaimed series for The New York Times and later for The Paris Review Daily, which have a devoted
following. Now, Windows on the World collects from Pericoli’s body of work and features fifteen never-before-seen windows in one gorgeously designed volume, as well as a preface from the Paris Review’s editor Lorin Stein. As we delve into what each writer’s view may or may not share with the others’, as we look at the map and explore unfamiliar views of cities from around the world, a new kind of map begins to take shape.

Windows on the World is a profound and eye-opening look inside the worlds of writers, reminding us that the things we see every day are woven into our selves and our imaginations, making us keener and more inquisitive observers of our own worlds.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:36 -0400)

"In Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty Views, architect and artist Matteo Pericoli brilliantly explores this concept alongside fifty of our most beloved writers from across the globe. By pairing drawings of window views with texts that reveal--either physically or metaphorically--what the drawings cannot, Windows on the World offers a perceptual journey through the world as seen through the windows of prominent writers: Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul, Daniel Kehlmann in Berlin, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Lagos, John Jeremiah Sullivan in Wilmington, North Carolina, Nadine Gordimer in Johannesburg, Xi Chuan in Beijing. Taken together, the views--geography and perspective, location and voice--resonate with and play off each other"--… (more)

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