This is another book I stole from Deb’s to read pile. She got the book based solely on the author (she has read and liked his other books). Opening the book we were shocked, it looks as though someone has taken a knife and cut out sentences and paragraphs, leaving just a handful of words behind on each page (that is basically what the author did). It took me a few pages to figure out how to read it (a lot of words show through those holes). Once I figured it out it ended up being a very short and interesting read.
After I finished reading the Tree of Codes I read in the back that Jonathan took the book The Street of Crocodiles by Polish-Jewish writer Bruno Schulz and “chipped” (cut) away words to leave behind his unique story; like a sculptor that chips away the stone to reveal a sculpture.
Rating this book is a bit tricky. Reading a story from a book that only has a handful of words scattered amongst the holes one the pages is a unique experience. Learning how it was done makes you appreciate the work, skill and imagination it took to create such a book. As for the story, it was beautiful and poetic.
I imagined the book as just a book. A story on whole pages (no holes), taking about 30 pages. Beautiful and poetic. Then I looked at it as a work of art and I go back and forth on that, on one hand I like the idea and I appreciate the experience but on the other hand it had a slight gimmicky feel to it.
I combined the story with the experience and that slight gimmicky feeling to come up with my rating of 4 out of five stars.