Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth is new in print again from NYRB, this time with a new introduction by novelist Nicholson Baker. The book is simply gorgeous.
My eight-year-old son immediately asked if he might read it (he has been on a sort of comix probation since I caught him reading a R. Crumb collection), and he shuttled through the thing two or three times over half an hour.
The Labryinth is 280 or so pages of illustrations with no story or plot, and he was a bit bewildered when I told him I planned to review the thing. “How?” I’ll figure out a way.
For now, here’s NYRB’s blurb:
Saul Steinberg’s The Labyrinth, first published in 1960 and long out of print, is more than a simple catalog or collection of drawings— these carefully arranged pages record a brilliant, constantly evolving imagination confronting modern life. Here is Steinberg, as he put it at the time, “discovering and inventing a great variety of events: Illusion, talks, music, women, cats, dogs, birds, the cube, the crocodile, the museum, Moscow and Samarkand (winter, 1956), other Eastern countries, America, motels, baseball, horse racing, bullfights, art, frozen music, words, geometry, heroes, harpies, etc.” This edition, featuring a new introduction by Nicholson Baker, an afterword by Harold Rosenberg, and new notes on the artwork, will allow readers to discover this unique and wondrous book all over again.