Short Life in a Strange World  


Short Life in a Strange World
Harper | February 25, 2020 | 336 pages
ISBN: 9780062931757

Sure to be hailed alongside H is for Hawk and The Hare with Amber Eyes, an exceptional work that is at once an astonishing journey across countries and continents, an immersive examination of a great artist's work, and a moving and intimate memoir. In 2012, facing the death of his father and impending fatherhood, Toby Ferris set off on a seemingly quixotic mission to track down and look at--in situ--every painting still in existence by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the most influential and important artist of Northern Renaissance painting. The result of that pursuit is a remarkable journey through major European cities and across continents. As Ferris takes a keen analytical eye to the paintings, each piece brings new revelations about Bruegel's art, and gives way to meditations on mortality, fatherhood, and life. Ferris conjures a whole world to which most of us have probably lost the key, and in the process teaches us how to look, patiently and curiously, at the world. Short Life in a Strange World is a dazzlingly original and assured debut--a strange and bewitching hybrid of art criticism, philosophical reflection, and poignant memoir. Beautifully illustrated with sixty-six color images, it subtly alters the way we see the world and ourselves.