Book of Hours: A Wordless Novel Told in 99 Wood Engravings
The Book of Hours draws us back through time and into the intimate routines of daily life in the hours before the onslaught of 9/11. Here Walker expresses through images what is too horrific for words, and although the inhabitants of the Book of Hours can’t imagine the tragedy about to befall them, the reader must dread the slow, uneven countdown that weaves between the pages.
The Book of Hours juxtaposes the normalcy of telephones, cubicles and sex with the catastrophic consequences of 9/11, and Walker reveals the individual lives and stories affected by and hidden beneath global politics. Through a careful, reverential representation of all the minor tasks that make up a day, the Book of Hours pays homage to the small rituals that grant our lives some stability and meaning in the midst of horrific, incomprehensible events.
This is not only a remembrance of innocence lost but also a recollection of the historical activism and art genres that had such an important influence on today’s graphic novel. Walker contributes to the great woodcut tradition established by the likes of Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward and Otto Nückel, and shows the endless need to expose and question social injustice through art and narrative.