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  • der Fisch, das Klavier und der Wind. Eine imaginäre Bibliothek
  • Ines Galling
GERMANY Barbara Scharioth (ED). der Fisch, das Klavier und der Wind. Eine imaginäre Bibliothek. (The fish, the piano, and the wind. An imaginary library) Hamburg: Carlsen 2009 175pp ISBN 97835515172227 (Euro) E 29,90

This book is a paradox: a book about books that do not (yet) exist. When Barbara Scharioth, former director of the International Youth Library, retired in 2007, she offered the library a special farewell present: an exhibition on books that only had an imaginary existence. An exhibition based solely on hopes and dreams, how could that possibly materialize? Scharioth asked illustrators from around the world to give life to their book dreams. Everything was allowed. The only condition was that each participant would design the book cover, invent a title, and write a short summary of the dreamed-up book. Seventy-two well-known illustrators took up the challenge, and in 2007 the exhibition An imaginary library was on display at the International Youth Library from mid-February to mid-March. Since then, it has travelled to many countries, including Croatia and Japan; currently, it is touring the United States. Delighted by Scharioth's project, the Carlsen publishing house in Hamburg decided to turn the exhibition catalogue into a book entitled The fish, the piano, and the wind. An imaginary library. This book now features 75 book dreams (three additional illustrators were recruited) of stunning variety, but united by the same enthusiasm for the project. The imaginary books have titles such as "The quiet book about a dangerous fish" (Bárður Oskarsson), "All things unimportant that are important to me" (Isabel Pin), or "Extremely speedy automobiles" (João Vaz de Carvalho). The artistic techniques are just as varied as the choice of topics: Jutta Bauer creates "I went through hell" with sparse but vivid pen-and-ink drawings; Kv ta Pacovská employs radiant-colored chalks for "Color samples. A path to the world of colors;" and Elena Odriozola employs soft watercolours for "Twigs." The fish, the piano, and the wind does not only show the book dreams of illustrators, it is also an invitation to readers to give wings to their imagination, to spin their own tales, which may not be about fish, pianos, or the wind, but perhaps about rabbits, violins, or the rays of the sun.



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