THE GOLDEN SWANS: A Picture Story from Thailand by Kermit Krueger

THE GOLDEN SWANS: A Picture Story from Thailand

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There are enough amorphous forms and dazzling effects here for light show--and what is insubstantial is often immaterial and vice versa. To distinguish the shape of swans in the undulating blobs with long slender extensions takes some hard looking; and to recognize their reflections in the water is difficult without any indication of a surface. Once into the story--of the swans as the spirits of people who once perished in a fire--the problem of ""reading"" images is complicated by counterindications in the text: thus, the god Indra seems to be bringing down the fire rather than grieving for its victims. In one case the innocently encroaching hunter is indeed ""lost"" in the forest; subsequently, only his bedazzlement by the swans can account for what appear to be sunspots against their bodies. The most dramatic moment--his portentous capture of a swan--is not illustrated, and considering the highly symbolic, largely static nature of the story (the hunter, finally redeems himself by carving a commemorative statue of the swan), it's the one picture this can least afford to do without. Perilously close to that old bugaboo ""art for art's sake"" and rather like making Max Reinhardt's The Miracle out of a touching local legend.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1969
Publisher: World