Caspar Henderson‘s 21st-century bestiary, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, is one of the most imaginatively conceived and beautifully produced books I have come across in the past couple of years. In the introduction, Caspar describes how the book was inspired when he was on a riverside picnic – Alice-style – in Oxford a few years ago. He had been reading Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings, and having leafed through this book, fell asleep.
Then, he writes: ‘I woke with the thought that many real animals are stranger than imaginary ones, and it is our knowledge and understanding of them that are too cramped and fragmentary to accommodate them: we have barely imagined them.’ And so was conceived this A-Z of weird and wonderful creatures – all of them real – and their unfamiliar ways of being in the world.
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