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The great art critic and writer John Berger joined forces again with Turkish writer and illustrator Selçuk Demirel in this unexpected pictorial essay.
What happens when an art critic loses some of his sight to cataracts? What wonders are glimpsed once vision is restored?
In this impressionistic essay written in the spirit of Montaigne, John Berger, whose treatises on seeing have shaped cultural and media studies for four decades, records the effects of cataract removal operations on each of his eyes. The result is an illuminated take on perception. Berger ponders how we can become accustomed to a loss of sense until a dulled world becomes the norm, and describes the sudden richness of reawakened sight with acute attention to sensory detail.
This wise little book beckons us to pay close attention to our own senses and wonder at their significance as we follow Berger's journey into a more vivid, differentiated way of seeing. Demirel's witty illustrations complement the text, creating a mini-world where eyes take on whimsical lives of their own. The result is a collaborative collectors' piece perfect for every reader’s bedside table.
This title completes a trilogy of books by Berger and Demirel. Smoke was published in 2018, and What Time Is It? was published in 2019.
About the Author
John Berger (1926-2017), storyteller, essayist, screenwriter, dramatist, and critic, was one of the most internationally influential writers of the last fifty years. His many books include Ways of Seeing, the Booker Prize-winning novel G, Here Is Where We Meet, From A to X, Smoke (with Selcuk Demirel), and Confabulations.
Selçuk Demirel was born in Artvin, Turkey, in 1954. He trained as an architect and moved to Paris in 1978, where he still lives. His illustrations and books have appeared in many prominent European and American publications. Demirel's work ranges from book illustrations, magazine covers, and children's books to postcards and posters.
"First published in 2011, when Berger was 84, this book is a kind of late-life accompaniment to Berger’s Ways of Seeing, which remains for many the definitive guide to how to look at a work of art. In Cataract, Berger puts words to the simplest of human actions in a manner so, well, eye-opening that you’ll never, uh, see seeing the same way again." —Dan Kois, Slate