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The Principles of Uncertainty Hardcover – October 18, 2007
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Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
It has more than 300 pages, almost all of them with quirky Magritte-style illustrations that are often as humorous and charming as the text.
Maira Kalman's Jewish family fled Russia after the revolution and went to Palestine before settling in America. As I imagine many of those do whose families have endured lives fractured by the events of history, and so closely touched by atrocities like the Holocaust, Kalman seems never to take life for granted -- she often expresses her concern about the point of it all, and the mess so many people make of it.
But for all that, this book is imbued with Kalman's overriding and utter joy in being alive. Joy shines out of every page.
For example, while she's in Israel she writes of her despair about the embattled state of the Middle East, but once back home in New York she finds immediate reassurance and an antidote to her distress simply by observing the life on the streets -- the colours, the people, the eccentricities, the humanity of it all.
On other pages she'll share her delight in wonderful hats, bravely-dressed women, old people, the collections of weird objects she keeps at home, and many of the amazing sights she observes and records on her travels at home and abroad.
I'd love to meet her: from my reading I imagine a strong New York humour and an infectious fascination for the cities she loves.
And, for a short period of time, the original paintings are on view at Julie Saul Gallery on 22nd St. in NYC. What a bonus!
In Principles of Uncertainty, Kalman touches on nearly every human emotion - yielding a book that is tender, tough, ironic, big-picture, "God is in the details", mellow, poignant, funny - you name it. In her deceptively naive paintings, she captures the essence of things - relationships, beauty, life cycles.
I went to see the exhibition at Julie Saul two times - and I would have gone 200 times. This will be one of those books that we will return to over and over again.
Her thoughts spring from the page as she passes through her days. Each thought evokes a picture. In her observation of a life that is mostly "normal" (if there is such a thing) Kalman connects readers with the deep reservoirs of personal feeling that we frequently fail to recognize.
This is a lovely, one-of-a-kind volume that will delight as it subtly conjures up the emotions that lie just below the surface in every one of us. Bravo!
I am getting through one of those years, many deaths in my family, and this book really helped me remember how grand life can be. Exquisite!