Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C. Millen

The Ink Garden of Brother TheophaneThe Ink Garden of Brother Theophane by C. Millen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I read the review of this book in a literary journal, I was really excited! I have a love of anything Medieval (my MA is in Early English Literature) and I thought this story would be right up my alley. But, as it turns out, not really...

This story is about a monk named Brother Theophane whose job is to copy text (along with other monks). However, Theophane isn't that great at his job because he daydreams all the time and feeds birds crumbs on the nearby windowsill. He eventually gets demoted.

His new job is awful; he must crush bark in a cauldron to make the ink used by the other brothers. One day, while out to retrieve more bark, he trips and falls on some blackberries and realizes that the juice he figures he can use this for ink. He goes on to discover other colors of ink in the nature around him.

Eventually, he no longer stirs bark in the cauldron, but grows a garden full of things he can get colors from.

In reality, it was early chemists who experimented with creating ink from things in nature (minerals, herbs, shrubs, etc.)...not necessarily a dreamy monk.

The pictures are nice, and the story is told in a poetic form, but those two things are really the only things I liked about the book.

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