Monster Portraits

(Author) (Illustrator)

Product Details

Rose Metal Press
Publish Date
5.9 X 0.3 X 8.3 inches | 0.35 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Sofia Samatar is the author of the novels A Stranger in Olondria and The Winged Histories, the short story collection, Tender, and Monster Portraits, a collaboration with her brother, the artist Del Samatar. She is the recipient of the William L. Crawford Award, the Astounding Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award. She teaches Arabic literature, African literature, and speculative fiction at James Madison University.
Del Samatar holds a BA in Fine Arts from Rutgers University. He lives in New Jersey, where he is pursuing a career as a tattoo artist.


"MONSTER PORTRAITS is a visually and linguistically striking book--a moving and daring duet between an artist and a writer, between a sister and a brother. Del Samatar's illustrations of monsters are gorgeous and hauntingly human. Their faces are emotive and their bodies are fantastical and graceful. Sofia Samatar--a dazzling and vital voice--braids autobiography with philosophy and storytelling (folkloric and literary) to create vignettes that reveal how Otherness is always present in our art, our histories, our mirrors. Her language is riveting, visionary, and breathtakingly alive. MONSTER PORTRAITS is an immensely rewarding feast for the mind and for the eye." --Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning
"This is a wondrous book. It reminded me of all the magical and rupturing books I have carried close to my heart, tucked against my body beneath my coat, since childhood. This is not a child's book, though it could be. The 'monstrous' life of ungulates and human-animal compositions, but also ordinary people--the New York City 'nanny' perhaps, who snaps one day and does away with the domestic scene before her--proliferate, exit, and enter the world of this book at intervals both soundless and without a visible depth. 'All monsters, ' writes Sofia Samatar, 'express relationships: not the ones we dream of, but the ones we have.' Del Samatar's drawings, which accompany the brilliant (plainly written yet alchemical) prose of MONSTER PORTRAITS, are also astonishingly beautiful. I am so excited to hold this book in my hands, like a 'red bowl.' And drink from it or eat from it. Again and again. To this end, I am thinking of buying a new coat that fits tightly and has buttons, so that I can indeed hold it very close, in all weathers and at all times!" --Bhanu Kapil, author of Incubation: A Space for Monsters
"Fall into the wormhole of an imagination lit like fireworks. Sofia Samatar's storytelling never fails to enchant and MONSTER PORTRAITS lava-rocks Del Samatar's stunningly detailed images with the breathless depth of her vision to peek between bushes, beyond diasporas, into mirrors, and across time through the everyday monstrous grandeur--coy and aggressive, best-kept secret and plain as the second nose on a rugged face--often missed by the naked eye. Be ready to be beautifully ruined." --Samiya Bashir, author of Field Theories
"The Samatars' monsters are beautiful, their panegyrics also beautiful, and beauty is the word for every strange and perfect thing that recompenses the brutalities of the world. Every excrescence is glorious here: devotion and invention cling to each other, philosophy crystallizes from asymmetries, and monsters take the form of lives turned inside out. Otherness, in this imaginary, is the foundation of togetherness, and monsters exist by their defiance of all monstrosities." --Anne Boyer, author of Garments Against Women
"Archetypes are reborn anew in this book; though their power to impact our lives is contemporary and immediate their sources are as ancient and original as ever. This marriage of fairy tale and postmodern autobiographical text creates a fearful symmetry." --Kazim Ali, author of Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies