Autumn 2002

A sinister storyboard

The Secret

Andrzej Klimowski
Faber & Faber, £12.99

This haunting tale of angels, occult gatherings and mythical creatures is Klimowski’s second image-based novel. The first was The Depository: A Dream Book published in 1994 [see ‘Theatre of Dreams’, Eye no. 14 vol. 3]. The narrative follows a desperate father after the disappearance of his family. Klimowski’s pictures weave an enigmatic story you can return to again and again. Brush and ink drawings are interspersed with architectural sketches and theatrical montage. The cinematic structure reflects the conceptual themes that flow throughout the story.

The complexities of The Secret emerge on a second reading. Initially, there’s an urge to assume the role of the narrator: to invent the ‘missing’ words while reading, which obstructs the flow and lessens the impact of the story. This is largely due to the unconventional form of the book rather than any oversight

by the author. This form of book remains marginal: its demands on the reader / viewer are unfamiliar, but when read as a storyboard or an animation we can become fully absorbed in the narrative, allowing it to come to life.

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