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There's a Mystery There by Jonathan Cott
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There's a Mystery There by Jonathan Cott
Hardcover $30.00
May 16, 2017 | ISBN 9780385540438

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  • $30.00

    May 16, 2017 | ISBN 9780385540438

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  • May 16, 2017 | ISBN 9780385540445

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“The book is an inventive, intelligent pleasure, a collaborative close reading that is serious and loving. I wish there were more criticism like it.”
Christine Smallwood, Harper’s

“Cott’s thoughtful questions include quotes from luminaries ranging from Homer to Rumi…. With minimal redundancy, the voices culminate to illuminate an extraordinarily rich picture book, provide fresh insight into human needs, and inspire appreciation for the rewards of looking closely.”
Kirkus Starred Review
“Fascinating and compellingly readable as all of this is, there remains something ineffable about Sendak’s work, for, yes, when all is said and done, there is a mystery there, one that Cott conveys beautifully.
Booklist Starred Review

“Cott approaches Sendak from virtually every angle, making this a remarkably complete picture of a complex and dynamic oeuvre.”
—Publishers Weekly

“What makes this volume worth reading… are Cott’s genuinely thoughtful insights into his subject’s work, and Sendak’s own wise, sometimes cantankerous musings about the relationship between words and pictures in illustrated books; the artists who inspired him (including Mozart, Melville, Blake and Emily Dickinson); and the kinetic dynamic between his life and art… [Cott] provides an illuminating window into the creative process — and the countless inspirations, influences, ideas and serendipitous encounters that fed into the creation of this work of art.”
New York Times

“[Jonathan Cott] enlists the help of an art historian, a Jungian analyst, a Freudian analyst, and the playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, a close friend of Sendak’s. Their perspectives on Sendak’s work, juxtaposed with Mr. Cott’s own exchanges with the artist, illuminate Sendak’s books and psyche to remarkable effect. Enriched throughout with images of Sendak’s art, the book will be catnip for those who already admire him. Non-enthusiasts who never warmed to his more discomfiting books as children or, as adults, to either his work or his irascible manner may find themselves surprised, sympathetic and enchanted. . . In this riveting account of Sendak’s vision, Mr. Cott captures the pain and the glory of the creative process: moments of soaring grandiosity and times of grinding struggle, of words and images that won’t come or that come in the wrong way, ‘It is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis,’ Sendak said. Adults do too. Sendak himself was proof of it.” 
Wall Street Journal

“Cott seamlessly interweaves readings of Sendak’s working process and final products, allowing them to reciprocally illuminate each other: The “companion guides” are used deftly to open possibilities without dogmatism. Images from Sendak’s books are reproduced in profusion. Poring over them is a pleasure in itself. Poring over them in this company profoundly deepens our appreciation of the power of art to help us bravely face our monsters, transform them and emerge ourselves transformed.”
Star Tribune

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