Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Guest Review: Valencia Noir by Isis Sousa and Ove Neshaug

Valencia Noir: The Beautiful, the Fantastic and the Grotesque of Valencia, Spain by Isis Sousa and Ove Neshaug
Published by Tragic Books on the 5th June 2016.

Where to buy this book:

Guest review by Harry Whitewolf
Harry Whitewolf is a poet of contemporary cutting-edge pop prose and a storyteller of true crazy travelling tales that read like fiction. I have enjoyed both his travel memoirs (my reviews here) so was delighted when Harry agreed to share this one of his reviews on Literary Flits. You can find out more about Harry and his writing on his own website, www.harrywhitewolf.com

Harry's rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Dark art book with 160+ black & white photographs!:. A beautiful book edition printed in glossy paper and with hardcover. ~~~~~ City of bats, dragons and gods. City of artistic daring throughout the centuries of history. This is Valencia, a Spanish realm where all fantasies – be they innocent, adventurous or obscure – take shape on canvas, wood, metal and stone. Wherever you go, a thousand archetypal faces and winged heraldic chimeras follow you. In this art book you will take a fully illustrated tour through medieval towers, gothic temples, strange artistic wonderlands, and the city of the dead. Embark on a trip which will take you to distant places and allow you to indulge the feelings and thoughts you’ve been trying to hide.

Harry says: "What a wonderful book this is. I spent a few days in Valencia many years ago, and as much as I was enthralled by the architecture and art of the city, I now realise just how much I missed as well.

First and foremost, this is an art book which, as the blurb says, “will take a fully illustrated tour through medieval towers, gothic temples, strange artistic wonderlands, and the city of the dead”. The photographs included aren’t just picture postcard photos though – they are noir artworks in themselves which have been taken by a skilled artist with an eye for detail. This is what makes this book such a joy.
Not only are there over 160 gothic-like photos in this book, there are also lots of snippets of information about the sites and the history and folklore of Valencia; just the right amount in my opinion – enough well-written accompaniments to keep it all interesting, but never shying away from the main visual aspect of the book. Sure, travellers to Valencia would be able to use this book in conjunction with their visit, but this isn’t designed to be a tour guide.

If you don’t know where to look, you might miss most of the faces, gargoyles and gory gothic ornamentations that are hidden in the nooks and crannies of Valencia. But if you do start looking, as Isis Sousa has, you’ll discover there is an abundance of such things – including many things you wouldn’t expect to see at all, such as (this description of): “…a female gargoyle opening her private parts, and a devil introducing some strange object into the anus of a dog held by a nun”.

I’ve always been interested in Christian architecture which features pagan symbols, gargoyles and The Green Man, and Valencia is a prime example. As the author writes: “In Valencia there are recurring motifs such as the dragon, the bat, Green Men, pagan gods (and) Christian deities” and “in the cemetery you also find…owls (and) Masonic pyramids”.
So, I recommend this book to anyone who’s fascinated by hidden faces and occult symbols as much as I recommend it to anyone who’s been to Valencia or is going, and to anyone who simply enjoys beautifully crafted photographs.
This isn’t a side of Valencia that you’ll find easily in your Lonely Rough Planet Guide."

Thank you Harry!

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  1. Hi Harry and Stephanie :) I just came to say hello and thank you guys for spreading the word/leaving a review bout Valencia Noir :D Great Blog by the way, and I am looking at the lovely things at your Etsy store, Jane. ^.^

  2. I have never been to Valencia myself, but it is a place I would really love to visit and sounds so beautiful. Architecture I have a love hate thing going on with it... sometimes I really notice it, and sometimes I don't. Brilliant review!

    My recent review: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2016/12/initiate-book-review.html

    1. Valencia is certainly worth a visit, especially the incredible City of Arts & Sciences! Make sure you drink Horchata there too!

  3. There's a Goodreads Giveaway for Valencia Noir running from today until the 19th March 2017! Get your entries in here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/224137-valencia-noir---the-beautiful-the-fantastic-and-the-grotesque-of-valenc