Movie lovers will know Gus Van Sant as the director of such independent classics as Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho and To Die For. He has also directed short subjects, music videos, and television commercials, and his talents extend to photography, painting, music and even fashion design. And now, with Pink, Van Sant tackles the art of writing fiction.
Pink is a charming and inventive novel on the classic themes of time, memory and love, but it's also a book that challenges the conventional boundaries of text. Personal computer users and net surfers will be especially delighted by the novel's interior design--a combination of visual and textual stimulants that are a print analog to the dynamic graphics commonplace on web sites. The variety of typefaces used to depict the novel's different voices, as well as the footnotes, gently subvert narrative convention. There are line drawings that illustrate the story, a series of which can be put in motion by riffling through Pink's pages, in the manner of a flipbook.
These elements are not gratuitous but mirror and subtly comment on the novel's concerns about the power of image--in all its forms--in our culture. It's a truism to say that image has outstripped reality. Pink's endearingly human characters are all trying to find the real in a world of image. Their struggle to make connections with each other and hold onto their own emotional truths takes the form of an adventure--an adventure readers are invited to share by exploring the novel's richly textured landscape.
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Photo of Gus Van Sant © copyright Scott Green