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THE GARDEN by Ishion Hutchinson Kirkus Star


by Ishion Hutchinson & illustrated by Joel Golombeck & developed by Rocket Chair Media

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 2013
Publisher: Rocket Chair Media

Caribbean author Hutchinson’s epic poem sprawls across a desultory dreamscape filled with unsuspecting power, scope and sweep. 

It takes a lot of restraint given the iPad’s vast capabilities to realize a vision as decidedly stark and spare as this, but the folks at Rocket Chair Media are steadily distinguishing themselves as inspired devotees of minimalism—and maybe even pioneering a new literary art form in the process. Just as Hollywood, with its bag of digital tricks, still can’t match the awesomeness contained in a single comic-book panel, it’s hard to imagine any electronic wizardry that could match the expansive imagery that Hutchinson’s haunting words and illustrator Golombeck’s sparse drawings spark in the mind as they take readers slowly across a Rorschach-stained backdrop. Pinching, swiping and spinning Hutchinson’s verses, as readers must do to read them, has the effect of quietly closing the door on one world and opening up the door on another. “The dead / were in flight, they flew in a silver / stream that night” immediately evokes pictures of a terrible spectral parade streaking across the mind’s eye. Although the ghastly scene is never literally depicted, the place where such a thing could unfurl is somehow rendered within the limited parameters of the iPad’s touch-sensitive screen. While Rocket Chair’s The Tell Tale Heart (2013) succeeds in pulling readers deep down inside claustrophobic confines, this one does the opposite, exploiting the space between dimensions and sending readers out into a limitless expanse of the imagination. Perhaps the uncanny alchemy is owed to the cascading sentences that hypnotically rise and fall, twist and fold, grow and fade inside darkly rendered sketches.

Despite the advanced platform, this is clearly more artistry than technology, thoughtfully applied to a text for which it works perfectly.