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Book Review: The Evil Garden by Edward Gorey

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I have been a fan of Edward Gorey since I was a Gashlycrumb Tiny. Even if you don’t know Gorey’s work, you are probably familiar with his iconic pen-and-ink drawings from book covers and illustrations of children’s books. In Gorey’s own nonsense rhymes and stories, bizarre and dreadful things occur routinely. His verse subtly satirizes every sappy children’s poem or story you have ever read. His richly detailed, vaguely Victorian drawings depict a timeless world where bizarre things happen quite routinely. Despite their macabre subject matter — or perhaps because of it — we sense that Gorey was having fun writing and drawing these books, and we definitely have fun reading them.

Pomegranate Communications is re-releasing some of Gorey’s stories and poems. Their most recent publication is The Evil Garden. In this macabre nursery rhyme, the garden lures a family inside with the promise of free admission and a gay afternoon, but one by one, each family member suffers a dire fate. This standalone edition is beautifully designed with thick, glossy paper and a dust jacket in lurid, pea-soup green. If you are already a fan, The Evil Garden will make a worthwhile addition to your Edward Gorey collection. And if you don’t yet know Edward Gorey, what a great introduction!

If you are overwhelmed by sap, sentimentality, and banality, a few minutes with Edward Gorey will revive you.

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About Shannon Turlington