Whilst on Furlough 1.0™ I kept seeing this bandied about Twitter and was fascinated by the concept, but the main draw was the stunning cover I kept seeing flashed up on screen.
Imagine my delight when I returned to work for that month holiday from lockdown to find it there in the staff room waiting for me to pick up.
The Swallowed Man is a book looking at the world from Geppetto’s view point. A concept so brilliantly executed, staring at his little room where he creates Pinocchio all the way to his time in the belly of the beast.
Edward explores the nuances of Geppetto’s mind and personality as he discovers that he has created life, running through the range of emotions from shame to pride.
Then he is consumed.
A stunning exploration of loneliness and despair, as the time Gepetto spends in the beast increases, his thoughts get deeper and deeper as he explores his own childhood and relationship with his father and how this influenced how he treated Pinocchio when he was first ‘born’. He wallows in regrets, microscopically examining ‘what ifs’, rails at the world and god, despairs for his son, and all the while he is writing in his journal and making art to cope with his situation.
A book that explores the nature of human love, despair, and the need for company, a need so strong that you can make darkness appear whole to threaten and taunt you with a simulacrum of reality and desire.
I now understand what all the hype was about.