“The particular volume I’m looking for is nameless, lacking a cover, title page, or any other outward markings of identity. Over the centuries its leaves have known nothing but change. They have been removed, replaced, altered, lost. The nameless book has been bound, taken apart, and reassembled with the pieces of other dismembered volumes, until one could ask whether there is anything left of the original. Or if there ever was an original.”
So begins Thomas Wharton’s book about books. What follows is a sequence of variations on the experience of reading and on the book a physical and imaginative object. One tale traces the origins of a fictional card game. Another tells of a duel between two margin scribblers. Roving across the globe and from parable to mystery, Wharton positions his reader between the covers of a book that is not. How are we to read the pieces that follow? As extraneous to the nameless book, as parts of it in its original form or perhaps as evidence that it has relocated to other existing volumes?
The Logogryph takes its cues from magic realism and the techniques of cinematography. The result is a mind-bending caper through the process of reading, the relationships we establish with fictitious worlds and the possibility of worlds yet unread. Wharton indulges his reader with tales of fantastical cities where the only occupation is reading and of the plight of a protagonist suddenly dislodged from his own novel. And what becomes of the reader who reads all of this?
This book is a Smyth-sewn paperback with a jacket and full sleeve. The text was typeset by Andrew Steeves in Caslon types and printed on Rolland Zephyr Laid paper. The jacket was printed letterpress. The inside features illustrations by Wesley Bates.
About the author
Thomas Wharton was born in Grande Prairie, Alberta, an agriculture and oil city located near the BC border. His father, a utilities manager, was transferred to Jasper when Wharton was a teen. The years Wharton spent exploring the mountains and glaciers around Jasper have had a lasting impact on his literary output; references to the Rocky Mountains weave in and out of the books he has written, most notably Icefields (NeWest Press, 1995) and The Logogryph. A life-long love of maps, history, art, and poetry equally informs his work. His latest adult novel is Every Blade of Grass. He is also the author of a fantasy trilogy, The Perilous Realm for younger readers. The Shadow of Malabron, The Fathomless Fire, and The Tree Story are available from Doubleda Canada.
“It is a book that sends you spinning off into lovely reveries of longing and desire. It is the kind of book you will recommend to close friend and family with words like: You have to read this! You must read this book!” Thomas Trofimuk, Edmonton Journal
“Wharton is one of the few Canadian practitioners of experimental fiction in the vein of Borges and Calvino, and although he has yet to match his mentors, he displays a talent that may well be honed to genius. . . Dear Reader, go now and find The Logogryph.” Natalee Caple, Globe and Mail