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Auction catalogs can tell you a lot about a person--their passions and vanities, peccadilloes and aesthetics; their flush years and lean. Think of the collections of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Truman Capote, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In Leanne Shapton's marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relat Auction catalogs can tell you a lot about a person--their passions and vanities, peccadilloes and aesthetics; their flush years and lean. Think of the collections of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Truman Capote, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In Leanne Shapton's marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris (who aren't real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple's personal effects--the usual auction items (jewelry, fine art, and rare furniture) and the seemingly worthless (pajamas, Post-it notes, worn paperbacks)--the story of a failed love affair vividly (and cleverly) emerges. From first meeting to final separation, the progress and rituals of intimacy are revealed through the couple's accumulated relics and memorabilia. And a love story, in all its tenderness and struggle, emerges from the evidence that has been left behind, laid out for us to appraise and appreciate. In an earlier work, Was She Pretty?, Shapton, a talented artist and illustrator, subtly explored the seemingly simple yet powerfully complicated nature of sexual jealousy. In Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris--a very different yet equally original book--she invites us to contemplate what is truly valuable, and to consider the art we make of our private lives.


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Auction catalogs can tell you a lot about a person--their passions and vanities, peccadilloes and aesthetics; their flush years and lean. Think of the collections of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Truman Capote, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In Leanne Shapton's marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relat Auction catalogs can tell you a lot about a person--their passions and vanities, peccadilloes and aesthetics; their flush years and lean. Think of the collections of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Truman Capote, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In Leanne Shapton's marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris (who aren't real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple's personal effects--the usual auction items (jewelry, fine art, and rare furniture) and the seemingly worthless (pajamas, Post-it notes, worn paperbacks)--the story of a failed love affair vividly (and cleverly) emerges. From first meeting to final separation, the progress and rituals of intimacy are revealed through the couple's accumulated relics and memorabilia. And a love story, in all its tenderness and struggle, emerges from the evidence that has been left behind, laid out for us to appraise and appreciate. In an earlier work, Was She Pretty?, Shapton, a talented artist and illustrator, subtly explored the seemingly simple yet powerfully complicated nature of sexual jealousy. In Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris--a very different yet equally original book--she invites us to contemplate what is truly valuable, and to consider the art we make of our private lives.

30 review for Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kirstyn McDermott

    The novel tells the story of a four year failed relationship between the eponymous Lenore (a epicurean columnist specialising in cakes) and Harold (a photographer whose work has him constantly travelling the globe), rendered in the form of an auction catalogue with photographs of almost all the items up for sale accompanied by brief notations. I saw this in a art/design shop and immediately snapped it up. I’m a sucker for strange books, for experiments in style and different ways of storytelling The novel tells the story of a four year failed relationship between the eponymous Lenore (a epicurean columnist specialising in cakes) and Harold (a photographer whose work has him constantly travelling the globe), rendered in the form of an auction catalogue with photographs of almost all the items up for sale accompanied by brief notations. I saw this in a art/design shop and immediately snapped it up. I’m a sucker for strange books, for experiments in style and different ways of storytelling, for the daring and the innovative and, yes, the sometimes-too-clever. Besides, the story-by-artifact concept touched near to some ideas of my own which I’ve been carrying about for a couple of years now. I’m not sure if anything will ever comes of those, but we’ll see. Whatever happens, it will be quite different to what’s been done here. According to this New York Times review, Shapton decided to create the book “because she noticed how the lot descriptions in some estate catalogs added up to elliptical plots about the lives of the former possessors”. It’s a neat idea: if all those things we acquire and accumulate throughout our lives can tell others about us and those lives we’ve lead, why not let them speak for themselves? And, for the most part, this is what Important Artifacts does. Some additional background and exposition is provided by the auctioneer’s notes — Lot 1172, for instance, is a small travel clock with its original box. The notes inform us that the clock was “given to Morris by Doolan” and, furthermore, that “Doolan insisted that the clock remain on New York time [where the couple lived:]. Morris took the clock on two trips, but complained it was too heavy”. The items presented for auction varies from the extrinsically if marginally valuable — furniture, vintage homeware, designer clothing — to the utterly trivial but significantly personal — photographs, shopping lists, party invitations. Together they give a coherent picture of the couple’s relationship as well as their individual personalities and quirks, ambitions and fears. It’s a book I really should have loved. I’m fascinated with personal ephemera and found objects. I adore inscriptions in second hand books and snapshots of strangers. But, unfortunately, I didn’t love Important Artifacts. The last half was a tad boring and I felt disappointed by the time I closed the back cover. I think the problem lies with story. The book is clever and beautifully put together, the objects are well chosen — perhaps a little too well chosen at times; the couple seems to have exceedingly good taste in everything — and the notations manage to tread the line between poignancy and sentimentality rather well, and provide a far amount of humour to boot. But the story, oh the story. That thing that pulls you along once you’ve worn out the novelty/curiosity factor of the presentation, that thing barely limps across the finish line. It’s a simple, ordinary and predictable story: two people meet, fall in love and try to make things work for a few years before finally realising that they’re just not meant to be. Now there’s nothing wrong with simple and straightforward, but when you know the ending before you start and there are no real surprises or revelations along the way, then something else really needs to grab you. And all that’s left is character, the people about whom the story speaks. Maybe that’s where Important Artifacts falls down. I simply didn’t feel engaged with either of the characters, and didn’t really care whether they broke up or stayed together. (Harold was irritating, but only mildly, not even enough to engage me on a negative level.) This might be an inevitable effect of the format of this novel, and perhaps you can never really feel close to people when all you’re given is a selected list of their possessions. However, I suspect if greater weight had been given to the really personal stuff, to all the embarrassing and unflattering things no one wants other people to see, it would have been different. Sure, that kind of stuff would hardly be sold off at auction but then the conceit of this is stretched thin anyway — there’s all sort of things that wouldn’t be auctioned unless the former owners were very famous, so let’s not quibble. In short, Important Artifacts doesn’t seem to know what it is. It reads a little like a puzzle or cipher, except there’s no real mystery to unravel. It’s trying to tell a love story, but the intimacy this requires is missing, and sorely missed. And this is a shame, because the idea of the book is fantastic and — as far as I know — unique. Food for thought, most definitely.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    You’ve (almost certainly) never heard of the movie “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” so let me elucidate: it’s a gory horror musical, the magnum opus of the director of the first four “Saw” flicks, set in a near-future dystopia where designer organs are available on the installment plan—but if you don’t make your payments on time, the repo man (played by Anthony Stewart Head of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and 80s Taster’s-Choice-commercial fame) comes a-callin’, to extricate the defaulted-upon pound or You’ve (almost certainly) never heard of the movie “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” so let me elucidate: it’s a gory horror musical, the magnum opus of the director of the first four “Saw” flicks, set in a near-future dystopia where designer organs are available on the installment plan—but if you don’t make your payments on time, the repo man (played by Anthony Stewart Head of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and 80s Taster’s-Choice-commercial fame) comes a-callin’, to extricate the defaulted-upon pound or so of flesh, all the while trying to protect his beloved daughter from the imprecations of the world. Also, Paris Hilton is totally in it, and her face totally falls off. It’s not good per se—the music is grating and repetitive, for one—but within its palette of blacks and blues and bloody reds, it’s one of the most beautiful movies in my recent memory (seriously, I’d compare it to “Moulin Rouge” on the opposite side of the spectrum), and there is this to say for it, which means a lot to me lately: it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen. An equally singular but far more successful work of art, “Important Artifacts” starts with an ingenious concept: to chronicle the forging, progression, and unraveling of a romantic relationship through the cast-off possessions of the couple, told in the form of an auction catalog. In photographs, documents, and dispassionate explanatory prose, author Leanne Shapton brings food writer Lenore Doolan and itinerant photographer Harold Morris to heartbreaking life. Here, an envelope of confetti she mailed him for a New Year’s they were apart. There, the contents of his shaving kit on a trip they took to Venice; there are five different kinds of over-the-counter sedative. Two pairs of clogs: “One pair powder blue women’s, size 8, the other red, men’s size 11. Some scuffing to leather.” Perhaps my favorite “lot” is 1204, a set of duplicate paperbacks from Lenore and Hal’s blended libraries, ironically containing twin titles of Graham Greene’s “The End of the Affair.” The meticulous collection and assembly behind the book is staggering, but it’s the stark poignancy of so many ordinary objects that really amazes me. This is the detritus of love: the battered toothbrush cup they shared, homemade mix CDs, scribbled conversations on theater programs. There’s no breakup “scene,” no final fight. After a few years of photos of the two on Halloween there is suddenly a sketch by Lenore of costumes for her and her sister. There are champagne corks and crumbling pressed flowers. There are, in the end, only indifferent things as witness to who these people were to each other.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nate D

    A fairly ordinary relationship arc, elevated to interest purely through unique presentation, its mapping entirely onto things: collections, gifts, ephemera. Through an auction catalogue of discarded possessions -- items and desciptions -- we see the entire development of the mutual life of two people, from meeting to breakup. How much do our possessions really us? Some things not others. The inclusion of personal notes allows insight beyond just likes and dislikes (maybe a little bit of a stretc A fairly ordinary relationship arc, elevated to interest purely through unique presentation, its mapping entirely onto things: collections, gifts, ephemera. Through an auction catalogue of discarded possessions -- items and desciptions -- we see the entire development of the mutual life of two people, from meeting to breakup. How much do our possessions really us? Some things not others. The inclusion of personal notes allows insight beyond just likes and dislikes (maybe a little bit of a stretch, but if we treat these people as celebrities, then sure, each little note and shopping list is of some kind of valid auction interest). Of course, they aren't. They, and their story, is essentially as mundane as the piles of possessions they leave behind. Form fitting content, or some such. But it does build a kind of portrait. And their are some interesting inferences lurking amid certain of the entries, shadings of backstory we can't ever really see in full. (Brooklyn library impulse read) Later: docked one star for its overwhelming bourgieness and the general disinterest of its characters. They do read good books though, in nice vintage editions. Obviously I'm just jealous.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Jo Parker

    I want to write to this author right now and tell her "Thank you for blowing my mind." This book is truly like nothing else I’ve ever read, which is the greatest experience in the world for a librarian. It’s a book of photographs with text, meant to look like an auction catalog of artifacts. Every item is identified and described as if it were going up for auction, with a price--everything from salt and pepper shakers stolen from restaurants to pieces of clothing to books to post cards to Polaro I want to write to this author right now and tell her "Thank you for blowing my mind." This book is truly like nothing else I’ve ever read, which is the greatest experience in the world for a librarian. It’s a book of photographs with text, meant to look like an auction catalog of artifacts. Every item is identified and described as if it were going up for auction, with a price--everything from salt and pepper shakers stolen from restaurants to pieces of clothing to books to post cards to Polaroid photos. And, the items and text paint the picture of a couple falling in love and then breaking up. And, it’s all made up. The couple in the photos isn't really a couple. It’s fiction. The woman is a writer for the NY Times who writes a column about cakes. The guy is a photographer who travels around the world on various assignments. But, you know, not really. I am in love with this book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Master Edition Strasbourg

    “Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry” by Leanne Shapton is a book as unique as its title is long. The book assumes the form of an auction catalog through which the reader gets sucked into the lives of a New York couple in the early 2000s: Lenore, a New York Times Cooking columnist and Harold, a photographer who is constantly travelling abroad for his job. Through memorabilia that varies fro “Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry” by Leanne Shapton is a book as unique as its title is long. The book assumes the form of an auction catalog through which the reader gets sucked into the lives of a New York couple in the early 2000s: Lenore, a New York Times Cooking columnist and Harold, a photographer who is constantly travelling abroad for his job. Through memorabilia that varies from the trivial and insignificant in value such as postal cards, books, and napkin notes to the valuable and expensive (including a coat that might have belonged to Maria Callas), the reader gets to witness the flourishing and the downfall of the couple. Leanne Shapton intelligently created something artful and well-crafted out of a story as old as a time by using mixed media and playing around with narrative and format. It is true that the reader doesn’t get to know the characters’ psyche as intimately as one would do in a traditional novel, but this thought-provoking book beautifully illustrates that an addictive narrative can be created from the most unconventional and mundane that make up one’s life. This book is perfect to read in one-sitting on a Sunday morning, paired with a steaming hot cup of coffee and no plans for the day. Avis proposé par Tina

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ken

    smart book. interesting to see a relationship rise and fall through the belongings of the individuals. on one level, i was kinda hoping for more, i don't know, clues (?) in the belongings. like an AHA! moment (where an object could possibly explain why something was happening), and possibly there was (lots of song lyrics are referred to i was unfamiliar with), but perhaps i missed them. or else, if there weren't clues, that could prove to be interesting as well, where when all is said and done, smart book. interesting to see a relationship rise and fall through the belongings of the individuals. on one level, i was kinda hoping for more, i don't know, clues (?) in the belongings. like an AHA! moment (where an object could possibly explain why something was happening), and possibly there was (lots of song lyrics are referred to i was unfamiliar with), but perhaps i missed them. or else, if there weren't clues, that could prove to be interesting as well, where when all is said and done, our shit is just our shit. it's meaningless to anyone outside of the moment. i like that. i'm curious if the auction format would be accessible to those unfamiliar with auction catalogues. being an archivist in the artworld, i regular get to pour through auctions catalogues when the seasons come. i care to trace the history at all times of an object. seeing a relationship through that lens was interesting. aside from that, also fun as hell to just see that things we collect, and why. yes, it's fiction, but i'm sure we all have the same crap collecting in boxes, on our shelves, and in our hearts...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Northrup

    I was instantly in love with the concept behind this. And it was more more complex than her earlier book, which I also really enjoyed. Overall, really well executed. They seemed like the sort of people who really would end up together, and really wouldn't work out. (I did keep wondering whether their incompatibility would have been so obvious if we weren't told at the very beginning that it failed.) She did clearly have a mysterious supplemental income, or a nasty credit card habit, but that's s I was instantly in love with the concept behind this. And it was more more complex than her earlier book, which I also really enjoyed. Overall, really well executed. They seemed like the sort of people who really would end up together, and really wouldn't work out. (I did keep wondering whether their incompatibility would have been so obvious if we weren't told at the very beginning that it failed.) She did clearly have a mysterious supplemental income, or a nasty credit card habit, but that's so common these days in any medium -- young characters have to be living in NYC no matter what. Giving him a job with lots of travel was a great vehicle for their interactions. And I loved the conversations on playbills. The unusual (?) habit of regularly leaving notes in books seemed a stretch, however. The truly brilliant entry was the restaurant tab towards the end, with the entrees crossed out. It said so much in so few words.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meish

    Loved the concept that the story of a couple was told through an auction catalog of their possessions documenting their relationship, like gifts, clothes, photographs, postcards, and mixed CDs. But it came up short on execution. The descriptions only give a glimpse into their story and hinted at the problems they had. Even then, it felt too one-sided from Lenore's perspective. And there was something that seemed pretentious and unrealistic about this retro-vintage-cool couple. An epicurean colum Loved the concept that the story of a couple was told through an auction catalog of their possessions documenting their relationship, like gifts, clothes, photographs, postcards, and mixed CDs. But it came up short on execution. The descriptions only give a glimpse into their story and hinted at the problems they had. Even then, it felt too one-sided from Lenore's perspective. And there was something that seemed pretentious and unrealistic about this retro-vintage-cool couple. An epicurean columnist for the NY Times wears Christian Louboutin shoes? A traveling photographer has a Prada toiletries bag? The relationship takes place in the 21st century and everyone writes handwritten letters to each other? Plus, you know the end before you begin, and there are no real surprises or character development or story line along the way. The relationship plods along through the photos, and then comes to a sudden yet predictable end. An interesting book, but I felt it could have been so much more.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Francesca Marciano

    A love story told in pictures, as an auction catalog. Leanne Shapton shows the evolution and the downfall of a relationship through the pictures of the objects and memorabilia that two people have exchanged, used or given each other in the course of four years: the ticket stubs, the books, love notes and messages scribbled on scraps of paper, stuff they bought to furnish their apartment together. Totally brilliant. Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be? stars as the female love interest A love story told in pictures, as an auction catalog. Leanne Shapton shows the evolution and the downfall of a relationship through the pictures of the objects and memorabilia that two people have exchanged, used or given each other in the course of four years: the ticket stubs, the books, love notes and messages scribbled on scraps of paper, stuff they bought to furnish their apartment together. Totally brilliant. Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be? stars as the female love interest in photos of the couples.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sharad Pandian

    This has a fantastic concept - presenting the story of a romance and its demise (and potential rekindling?) through just an auction catalogue of objects accumulated, exchanged, and shared by the couple. The problem is that it turns out it's much harder to appreciate a book in a sustained way with out an explicit narrative, so I ended up just skimming the images, looking for written material like post-it notes, emails, conversations on playbills (it didn't help that I knew it was fiction, and so This has a fantastic concept - presenting the story of a romance and its demise (and potential rekindling?) through just an auction catalogue of objects accumulated, exchanged, and shared by the couple. The problem is that it turns out it's much harder to appreciate a book in a sustained way with out an explicit narrative, so I ended up just skimming the images, looking for written material like post-it notes, emails, conversations on playbills (it didn't help that I knew it was fiction, and so I was totally uninterested in plumbing the details of each "auction piece"). It is definitely possible that I simply lack the imaginative capacity and/or patience to carefully consider each artifact and interpret it to form a nice, beautiful narrative, but all I can report is that it was a slog.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    2.5* Mostly concept, gets stale through the mid-section.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paula Lyle

    This is so different from any other love story, original and thought-provoking. It really is amazing how much story there remains in stuff collected, given and saved. Remarkable.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I have never experienced a book like this. Absolutely worth a read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Illustrator and photographer Leanne Shaptonhas created a highly original and beautiful work of art with Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, a literary "auction" book detailing the four-year relationship of the people in question. 20-something Lenore Doolan is a cake-column writer for The New York Times, whereas Harold Morris is a freelance photographer in his 40s. Important Artifacts, et al. is a story told completely in pictures of th Illustrator and photographer Leanne Shaptonhas created a highly original and beautiful work of art with Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, a literary "auction" book detailing the four-year relationship of the people in question. 20-something Lenore Doolan is a cake-column writer for The New York Times, whereas Harold Morris is a freelance photographer in his 40s. Important Artifacts, et al. is a story told completely in pictures of the couple's personal belongings which include letters, lingerie, post-it notes, photographs, gifts from one another and much, much more. Miraculously, the book details the ups and downs of the relationship between Doolan and Morris throughout their beautiful and romantic four years together. The concept of Important Artifacts, et al. is truly mind-numbing but don't doubt Shapton's ability to tell a thorough story through pictures because I promise, the collection will draw you in. It's absolutely fascinating to me how detailed and in-depth this catalogue is although there is no official narrative, per se. What's even more sensational about Important Artifacts, et al. are the characters of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris in all their witty intelligence and wildly artistic temperaments. The two individuals are captivating creatures and their old-fashioned romantic ways are inspiring, indeed! Leanne Shapton has also written Was She Pretty? (2006) about the nature of jealousy in women toward their boyfriend's ex-girlfriends. For more book reviews visit http://dreamworldbooks.com.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Trena

    This was a really clever idea--using an auction catalog format to tell the story of a relationship--and the execution was just as clever as the idea which is a real coup. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the objects, but I loved that they were mostly just ordinary objects like playbills and polaroids. The story really comes through and it's fun to think of the catalog/relationship as a living thing (the "item removed" designations near the end). At first it made me feel like my relations This was a really clever idea--using an auction catalog format to tell the story of a relationship--and the execution was just as clever as the idea which is a real coup. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of the objects, but I loved that they were mostly just ordinary objects like playbills and polaroids. The story really comes through and it's fun to think of the catalog/relationship as a living thing (the "item removed" designations near the end). At first it made me feel like my relationship is inferior or less real because it has produced virtually no artifacts at all. But my relationship is also calm and enjoyable and we are mostly in the same place, so it's a tradeoff I suppose. This is a quickie read of an hour and a half at most, and is probably fun to pick up and browse through later (I read it in a library copy). My assessment: she was too young for him, and yet he is a perpetual man-child who will never be ready for anyone and searches out women who are too young for him so he'll never have to grow up. And I hope when she got his most recent note, which introduces the catalog, she was happily ensconced with someone who is in a real, grown up relationship with her.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alistair

    this is a very clever book . it takes the form of an auction catalogue which instead of listing paintings by Van Gogh or El Greco simply lists the mundane possessions that are left over after the break up of a relationship between a globe trotting adevertising photographer and a woman who writes about cakes for the New York Times . The objects ramge from socks to post it notes and the reader is able to trace the arc from heady first days through make ups and break ups , arguments , misunderstandin this is a very clever book . it takes the form of an auction catalogue which instead of listing paintings by Van Gogh or El Greco simply lists the mundane possessions that are left over after the break up of a relationship between a globe trotting adevertising photographer and a woman who writes about cakes for the New York Times . The objects ramge from socks to post it notes and the reader is able to trace the arc from heady first days through make ups and break ups , arguments , misunderstandings , doubts to final split . the reader fills in the gaps and probably makes assumptions and makes interpretations that are quite individual i imagine . A note saying " I am sorry that I broke your favourite mug . I will repair it . I promise !" can be interpreted as he broke it deliberately or by accident and the " i promise ! " as perhaps his promises are usually hollow . It is all very subtle and ambiguous . I had a problem in that the couple were a bit too chi-chi for my liking and the man seemed obsessed with himself , labels and being smart . He was trying to publish a book of photographs of hotel ceilings . perhaps this is subtle satire . I found her more sympathetic and genuine . Highly original and touching

  17. 5 out of 5

    Inna Komarovsky-Rana

    This book presents such a unique way of telling a story. It's very relatable and understated. It is mysterious but purposeful and eloquent. It makes me imagine the artifacts that each of us creates and the pieces of our stories that they tell. The overall tone is kind of somber and detached since we mostly see objects that had once belonged to the two main characters. It is also sweet and intimate because it shows small and very human details, like a series of t-shirts or a list of foods eaten w This book presents such a unique way of telling a story. It's very relatable and understated. It is mysterious but purposeful and eloquent. It makes me imagine the artifacts that each of us creates and the pieces of our stories that they tell. The overall tone is kind of somber and detached since we mostly see objects that had once belonged to the two main characters. It is also sweet and intimate because it shows small and very human details, like a series of t-shirts or a list of foods eaten written in the margin of a book. The writing consists only of captions describing the items as if for an auction, but the seemingly objective text tells a complicated and emotional story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    I thank my friend Iris for introducing this wonderfully creative and unique book to me. I absolutely got lost in it, and I couldn't wait until the end of the work day to become a voyeur into a romance of two other people. A delightful book that I would recommend to anyone looking for a creative way to read about a couple's journey together. I thank my friend Iris for introducing this wonderfully creative and unique book to me. I absolutely got lost in it, and I couldn't wait until the end of the work day to become a voyeur into a romance of two other people. A delightful book that I would recommend to anyone looking for a creative way to read about a couple's journey together.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This is an interesting way to complile a love story. Factual yet voyeuristic....weird...too much selfie...facts. I would never agree to showing the public my private love letters, momentoes,and clothing that are based on a failed romance. So vane, I would much prefer an old Harlequin romance. It must be a generation gap, I dont get it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    This is a novel disguised as an auction catalog. And that's a great idea, but the actual hipsters-in-love plot is a little dull. Also, I suspect it did not sell very well, since the title is just about impossible to remember (for me, at least). This is a novel disguised as an auction catalog. And that's a great idea, but the actual hipsters-in-love plot is a little dull. Also, I suspect it did not sell very well, since the title is just about impossible to remember (for me, at least).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kyla

    The absolute most perfect book in the world for me. Don't read it, seriously, I plan to give this book as a gift. Don't read it! But read it. If you are exactly like me and love: Cakes Found Magazine Beautiful Objects Doomed relationships Voyeurism Archives The absolute most perfect book in the world for me. Don't read it, seriously, I plan to give this book as a gift. Don't read it! But read it. If you are exactly like me and love: Cakes Found Magazine Beautiful Objects Doomed relationships Voyeurism Archives

  22. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    A boring story told in an interesting way. But still, boring. How the hell did this get a movie deal?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    very clever and entertaining

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

    This was a refreshing read. I really had to slow down and think about the each lot and it related to the relationship.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Probably the best use of mixed media in a novel that I've encountered, and an outstanding and unique spin on epistolary format. Probably the best use of mixed media in a novel that I've encountered, and an outstanding and unique spin on epistolary format.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dan Konigsburg

    A really innovative book, in the form of an auction catalogue, filled with hundreds of items from a now-split couple, with item descriptions that allow the reader to piece together their meeting, their infatuation, their falling in love, and their slow recognition that they were perhaps not meant to be. Nothing about their relationship is described directly, but everything is laid bare if you’re paying attention: her eating disorder, visible in her obsessive lists of food eaten; his affairs when A really innovative book, in the form of an auction catalogue, filled with hundreds of items from a now-split couple, with item descriptions that allow the reader to piece together their meeting, their infatuation, their falling in love, and their slow recognition that they were perhaps not meant to be. Nothing about their relationship is described directly, but everything is laid bare if you’re paying attention: her eating disorder, visible in her obsessive lists of food eaten; his affairs when traveling for work, visible in his receipts for meals abroad; big fights and hurts, the evidence of which is seen in apologetic notes, and gifts that say ‘I’m sorry.’ The relationship is nostalgically pre-internet, and is filled with kind of loving back and forth - gifts and tokens of love, and markers of the years’ passing - Valentine’s Day dinners, Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinners. The book is also a slice of early 2000s New York culturati: Robert Lowell and Richard Ford books, London Fog jackets, old sun hats, brassieres, dresses, umbrellas, snowshoes, Smythson of Bond Street day-to-a-page diaries. The book reminds you of Rachel Cusk’s Outline, which has a similar way of giving you a window into a person or a relationship without describing anything directly. It’s brilliant in its own original way, and I have read nothing quite like it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    G Batts

    A beautifully shot and complied list of objects and mementos from a failed relationship. The two main characters are the type of bougie hipster that you love to hate but (especially if this novel appeals to you) you see a lot of yourself in. Shapton works poignancy and humour into the list of artefacts and the story comes alive through the subtleties that are shared, such as Lenore listing the food she's eating when she's feeling anxious. Is this a coping mechanism or part of an anxiety spiral? A beautifully shot and complied list of objects and mementos from a failed relationship. The two main characters are the type of bougie hipster that you love to hate but (especially if this novel appeals to you) you see a lot of yourself in. Shapton works poignancy and humour into the list of artefacts and the story comes alive through the subtleties that are shared, such as Lenore listing the food she's eating when she's feeling anxious. Is this a coping mechanism or part of an anxiety spiral? Who knows! But it's details like this that make the characters more real.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

    3.5 stars. I love the unique concept of this book which is the story of a relationship from the moment of meeting to the breakup told through the couple's possessions. The book is set out like an auctioneer's catalogue with the photo and description of each item revealing a little bit more about their relationship. The story is pretty mundane which gave it some authenticity although by the end I was hoping the book would explain why all their possessions ended up being auctioned (who would want 3.5 stars. I love the unique concept of this book which is the story of a relationship from the moment of meeting to the breakup told through the couple's possessions. The book is set out like an auctioneer's catalogue with the photo and description of each item revealing a little bit more about their relationship. The story is pretty mundane which gave it some authenticity although by the end I was hoping the book would explain why all their possessions ended up being auctioned (who would want most of their stuff?) but this did not happen so I felt a bit underwhelmed by the end.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    4.5 Books like this are 100% my jam and so I adored this. Important Artifacts tells the story of a relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris through the medium of an auction catalogue, capturing everything from party invites, polaroids, menus for meals and contents of washbags from their trips together. The way they fall in love and fall apart isn't particularly unusual, but there is something very special about how Shapton uses images and descriptions to reveal and not reveal what is 4.5 Books like this are 100% my jam and so I adored this. Important Artifacts tells the story of a relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris through the medium of an auction catalogue, capturing everything from party invites, polaroids, menus for meals and contents of washbags from their trips together. The way they fall in love and fall apart isn't particularly unusual, but there is something very special about how Shapton uses images and descriptions to reveal and not reveal what is happening. Would recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Brilliantly conceived and gorgeously wrought. Even though the gambit of auction-catalog-as-novel would seem to render plot and characterization minimal, these characters and their story stuck with me long after closing the book. I found myself haunted by the echoes of this dissolved relationship despite really only knowing it through the couple's discarded possessions. Shapton has conceived of a truly experimental approach here, and in this case, the experiment worked brilliantly. Brilliantly conceived and gorgeously wrought. Even though the gambit of auction-catalog-as-novel would seem to render plot and characterization minimal, these characters and their story stuck with me long after closing the book. I found myself haunted by the echoes of this dissolved relationship despite really only knowing it through the couple's discarded possessions. Shapton has conceived of a truly experimental approach here, and in this case, the experiment worked brilliantly.

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