I recently completed 3 illustrations that were inspired by The Body Library – the latest book by Jeff Noon. I was present at the book’s launch at Follycon, earlier this year, where Noon read a haunting passage from the book – although I was already sold on it, having read the first book in the series, A Man of Shadows, last year.
The world which Jeff Noon has created for the inspector Nyquist mysteries is quite unusual. Astoundingly original, in fact. I haven’t read anything quite like it. The first book, A Man of Shadows, was set across two time (and mind) bending worlds; Dayzone (a city of constant daylight) and Nocturna (an eerie underworld of perpetual darkness). It felt like a surreal film noir, or some kind of retro-futuristic graphic novel. For The Body Library, Jeff Noon turned that strangeness up to 11, setting the book in the city of Storyville… a place founded on the written word. Words spread like living disease and everyday life is infected by stories.
Living up to its title, The Body Library is a surreal and disturbed with a gripping murder mystery at its core. I found my inspiration fired up, and knew I had to interpret some of the book’s moments in my own way; as if illustrating an imaginary graphical version of the story. I hadn’t done any illustration work like this for a long time, so that in itself was particularly rewarding.