Evie and Guy by Dan Holloway is a book without words but instead Dan has composed Evie and Guy using only numbers. The focus is on masturbation events and through this Evie and Guy’s relationship and lives unfold. So far I have only skimmed Evie and Guy, but already I am starting to feel for the characters, imagining who they are and how they interact. I have even glimpsed stained and faded wallpaper! I will be setting aside a block of time to consider it without a head full of pressing concerns, which I feel would diminish the experience. As if I was going to an art gallery to view and enjoy an exhibition.
I have found Evie and Guy occupying my thoughts and the more I think about the book, the more I see it as art and an attempt to bring writing back into the realm of art. Here I am thinking of art as a creative process that challenges the viewer, provides alternative perspectives and have many meanings; where the viewer’s sense of meaning is equally if not more important than the artist’s in their attempt to communicate what is important to them. Whilst there is a place (and a much needed one in our busy lives) for books that provide escapism and do not ask of us, sadly the popularity of this and the money to be made from it, has driven out books that questions the reader and demands their engagement in the reading process. Evie and Guy asks of the reader and as readers are we able to create our own story and meaning? Are we willing to appreciate the artistic effort in providing the framework for this?
I imagine Evie and Guy as an art exhibition, each page hung on the wall. I would have them in a random order so to engage with the narrative of their lives would involve a criss-crossing movement of the rooms or if read in a linear fashion a criss-crossing of the mind as a fresh layer of dates and times and durations are added. Both ways create a space to ask what does this mean for Evie and Guy as individuals and as a couple? I can imagine buying Evie and Guy and reading pages at random and holding the glimpses into Evie’s and Guy’s lives and piecing together my own story for them.
Dan has taken a risk and I believe it a risk worth taking, which presents a new reading experience and challenges authors to consider what is the story I wish to tell and how do I want to do that. Do I dare step out of my comfort zone and begin to play with what exposes, to take risks with what I offer? For the reader it asks of them what is it that I want from a book, how much I am prepared to invest into being with that book. In a society where sadly, I feel I could argue, a comfortable boredom pervades, Evie and Guy is refreshing and I hope it is picked up by readers and appreciated as the art it is. I view Dan as the author, as the artist as being left exposed by presenting this challenge to writers and readers and that is what I feel makes Evie and Guy challenging and worth engaging with. That exposure, I feel, is the result of taking thoughtful risks, of presenting a book full of meaning, where the readers meaning, what feels right for them is taken as the most important aspect of the book. It focuses on the internal experience of the reader and does not provide an external one, which is so very rare these days.
Evie and Guy is published by 79 rat press and is available in paperback and as a downloadable pdf on a pay as you like basis from Dan Holloway.
Posted: 9 May 2019