The Giant’s Fence by Michael Jacobson
The Giant’s Fence (by Michael Jacobson) is a unique book. Instead of being filled with words, it gives you 80 pages of trans-symbolic script. Each page has several lines of linked, dancing symbols. They live, move, mutate, and die. The whole book could be interpreted both as the song of how we humans invented symbolic communication, and the telling of its slow disintegration. There are at least 2 ways to “read” The Giant’s Fence. You can begin at page 1, scan the first line, scan the second line, and so on, as you would read a regular book. You can also flip to a random page, and jump to a line which catches your eye. Some pages distort the rows of horizontal lines of symbols into curves, so you can’t exercise your usual reading habits. The Giant’s Fence stimulates new ways of reading and new ways of thinking. As the introduction says, “any meaning” the reader constructs “is a correct translation.” The book’s title is a translation of Finnish “Jatulintarha”, a name given to many of the stone labyrinths found in Finland. The only precursors to The Giant’s Fence are the hypergraphic novels of the Lettristes (such as Alain Satie’s Ecrit en Prose) and some of the more complex works of asemic poetry. If you want to step outside of language, and bathe in unmuddied waters, this book is for you.