Books read in 2016 – no.6 Griffin & Sabine by Nick Bantock

Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence (Griffin & Sabine Trilogy #1) by Nick Bantock, 1991

620971I’m re-reading these books in advance of the 25th anniversary publication of a follow up work – The Pharos Gate: Griffin & Sabine’s lost correspondence in a few weeks time. 

I remember the awe I felt first opening this book all those years ago. It was like nothing else I’d ever seen: a picture book for adults; a voyeuristic peek at private correspondence; a mystery and a love story all wrapped up in a glorious piece of art!

Griffin & Sabine are both painters, living on opposite sides of the world. Sabine introduces herself with a quirky, exotic handmade postcard, entirely out of the blue…

Each page of the book features a piece of their ongoing correspondence. We get to enjoy the gorgeous images on the front of each postcard, then flip the page to read what’s on the other side! Best of all though are the letters. Turning the page you are invited to open an envelope then remove and read the letter folded within. I’ve read reviews calling this an illicit and voyeuristic pleasure but for me it’s just sharing the joy and charm of postal communication. I feel I am Griffin & Sabine.

Nick Bantock managed to produce different and distinct art styles for Griffin and Sabine. Although both are impressive, I always prefer Sabine’s letters and cards. Her art is exotic, exuberant and sometimes slightly crazy. Her handwriting is clear yet graceful – and she always uses an fountain pen filled with rusty-red ink.

It was a joy to read this wonderful book again. I’m already halfway through book two… and looking forward with growing anticipation to the publication of The Pharos Gate.


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