Visiting flea markets and other repositories of material culture around the world, a consummate collector gathers the world's cast-offs to reveal rich insights into people, places, and times past. Can a city's history be found in its museums? Perhaps, but Barbara Hodgson believes that it is in the streets, bookstores, and markets where the city tantalizingly and coyly unveils its real past and most intimate self.
From Brussels to Marrakech and Damascus to Portland, Trading in Memories follows Hodgson's travels through markets and other repositories of material culture around the world. The book presents a wonderful visual and textual record of the life and character of a place as found in the clutter of crowded stalls and dusty collections, in gothic graveyards, and on crumbling walls. The stories behind the objects-and those selling them- can reveal much about a place and its past, attesting to the constant flux and flow of humanity.
"Like Marcel Proust, Canadian writer Barbara Hodgson lives in a world of memories. Where Proust used tea and a small cake, Hodgson uses bric-a-brac...This is sensory travel where the most inconsequential objects are treasured because they evoke memories and sensations...Each chapter reads like a perfectly constructed short story and...the reader, swept along by Hodgson's passion, wants to gaze at every object she describes."
"As always, [Hodgson] evocatively intertwines her design and verbal skills. ...Readers will find themselves tripping along after her, charmed as she picks up a long-ago discarded passport and half-imagines, half-explains the travels that the document surely knew...Highly recommended for armchair travel and material culture collections."
"Whether as creative sparks for a new project or critical components to a work-in-progress, everything Hodgson uncovers becomes a source for some literary project. As lushly illustrated as all of her other works, Trading in Memories is a beautiful book that enlightens as to the working of a writer's mind while also serving as something lovely to page through."
"How many times have you read something so vivid and in-the-moment and transporting that you were forced to put the book down and stare into space in order to let your conscious mind catch up with the scenario reverberating on the page? Bet you can count those moments using fingers along, unless you're...a fan of Barbara Hodgson, whose books are virtual gateways to daydreams...Hodgson drops readers into palpable netherworlds with exquisite storytelling and accompanying images. Imaging that -- books with pictures for grown-ups! It may be a simple formula, but it's Hodgson's and it works like a charm every time."
"Hodgson's published work is a rich blend of fluid writing, captivating illustration and memorable characters in obscure situations. She writes and designs her books, and they are typically brimming with the unexpected...This time, with Trading in Memories, she invites us into her imagination and adds significantly to our understanding of how it works...Like many of her previous books, Trading in Memories is a striking combination of compelling writing about places off the beaten track and illustrations of various kinds that bring the subject to life. It's part travel journal and partly a manual for seeking 'the irretrievably obscure'."
"Vancouver's Barbara Hodgson, who's as adept with images as she is with words, shows off her finds in Trading in Memories."
"In a time when words like 'charming' and 'quirky' are frequently and undeservedly used to describe bland chick-lit heroines and actresses, Barbara Hodgson's exploration of curious and cast-off items truly merits the adjectives...Trading in Memories is an eminently entertaining journey, thanks to Hodgson's authentic engagement with the lives and places she encounters."