Book Spotlight–1/2/2011

Salamander by Thomas Wharton

Eighteenth Century printer Nicholas Flood specializes in novelty books—books that nestle into one another, books composed of a single sentence, books that emit the sounds of crashing waves. When his work catches the attention of an eccentric Slovakian Duke, Flood gets the commission of a lifetime: create the infinite book. This launches Flood on an odyssey to figure out how to create his book without end.

At heart, Salamander is a fable that uses its fantastical journey as an allegory to explore the nature of books and why people come to love them—for reasons good, bad and just plain odd. Any bibliophile will immediately warm up to Wharton’s words, more so if they happen to enjoy genre elements. But Salamander is Literature with a capital L, deftly crafted and engrossing. It’s one of the most intriguing and original stories I’ve read in a long time.
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