Smoke by John Berger (Author) and Selcuk Demirel (Illustrator)
“Once upon a time, men, women and (secretly) children smoked.”
Following the success of Cataract, John Berger, one of the great soothsayers of seeing, joins forces again with Turkish illustrator Selcuk Demirel. This charming pictorial essay reflects on the cultural implications of smoking. A subtle and beautifully illustrated prose poem, Smoke lingers in the mind.
This charming illustrated work reflects on the cultural implications of smoking, and suggests, through a series of brilliantly inventive illustrations, that society’s attitude to smoke is both paradoxical and intolerant. It portrays a world in which smokers, banished from public places, must encounter one another as outlaws. Meanwhile, car exhausts and factory chimneys continue to pollute the atmosphere. Smoke is a beautifully illustrated prose poem that lingers in the mind.
“A cigarette is a breathing space. It makes a parenthesis. The time of a cigarette is a parenthesis, and if it is shared you are both in that parenthesis. It’s like a proscenium arch for a dialogue.” – John Berger (in interview)
In contemporary English letters John Berger seems to me peerless. Not since D. H. Lawrence has there been a writer who offers such attentiveness to the sensual world with responsiveness to the imperatives of conscience.
In his ceaselessly inventive work, Selçuk often uses parts of the body in ways that are characteristically Turkish…as if the comedy of the human condition were there in the human body, in the melancholy of anatomy.
—John Berger, on Selçuk Demirel
by John Berger (Author)
and Selcuk Demirel (Illustrator)
Available in Hardcover on May 8, 2018
From Notting Hill Editions