Sabine's Notebook Essay - Critical Essays

Sabine’s Notebook

SABINE’S NOTEBOOK is a publisher’s dream. A pop-up book for adults, this truly artistic and original work draws an audience more for its concept than its literary content. The remarkable packaging contains both envelopes that actually open up to reveal removable letters on hand made stationary and beautifully drawn postcards that offer personal glimpses of the two artists’ perceptions of their surroundings—London, Dublin, Florence, Greece, Egypt, Japan, Australia, Guadalcanal.

After inviting Sabine to his home in London, Griffin, seized by ambivalence, flees in fear prior to her arrival. He feels a strong attraction to and curiosity about this woman who proclaims her compassion and her need for his presence, yet he is troubled by her existence. Initially Griffin, lonely and lacking confidence, was certain that he had created Sabine in his mind out of a need for self-affirmation; when later, he continues to receive her letters and postcards, he fears that she must be “a malevolent creature grown form [his] insanity.”

Through some psychic sense, Sabine is able to see Griffin and his paintings and to feel his emotion. Eventually he, too, believes that his daydreams are actually revelations of her artwork. Beginning to accept Sabine’s reality and reject his ominous suppositions of her inherent darkness, Griffin informs her that he will be returning home, finally, to meet her. When he arrives, however, Griffin faces an unexpected and frustrating surprise.

The conclusion of Bantock’s trilogy is scheduled to be published in the fall of 1993.