The book you want to make just cannot be made.
“Jonathan Safran Foer, deftly deploys sculptural means to craft a truly compelling story. In our world of screens, he welds narrative, materiality, and our reading experience into a book that remembers that it actually has a body.”
~ Olafur Eliasson
Our early conversations with Jonathan Safran Foer about Tree of Codes started when Jonathan said he was curious to explore and experiment with the die-cut technique. With that as our mutual starting point, we spent many months of emails and phone calls, exploring the idea of the pages’ physical relationship to one another and how this could somehow be developed to work with a meaningful narrative. This led to Jonathan deciding to use an existing piece of text and cut a new story out of it. Having considered working with various texts, Jonathan decided to cut into and out of what he calls his “favourite book”: The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz.
As Jonathan began to carve out his story, we started doing our production homework and literally got turned down by every printer we approached – their stock line being “the book you want to make just cannot be made”. Thankfully, we found Die Keure in Belgium who relished the challenge of making a book with a different die-cut on every page.
Over a year of writing, cutting and proto-typing later, comes Tree of Codes, a haunting new story by Jonathan Safran Foer cut from Bruno Schulz’s words.
The book is as much a sculptural object as it is a work of masterful storytelling: here is an “enormous last day of life” that looks like it feels.
Published 15 November 2010
Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer - Public Reactions