Suza Scalora, The Witches and Wizards of Oberin (Joanna Cotler Books, 2001)

The story of The Witches and Wizards of Oberin is more a vignette than a novel, but that doesn't really matter. The important part isn't the story, which is really confined to the first couple of pages and the last page of the book, but the pictures.

The titular witches and wizards are the subjects of photographs in stunning colour -- the closest thing I've ever seen to literally living colour. They are also briefly introduced by the "Spirit Keeper", their friend and colleague. Together, they represent the elements of Air, Earth, Fire and Water.

It's hard to describe the photographs, or the persons in them. They aren't the sort where the longer you look the more details you see. It's more that the longer you look the more you realize there are no details, just swirling, spiraling colours sucking you down into an any-colour-but-black hole.

Orella is the pink and orange flame in the east. Samantha Silphe has butterflies in her unbound hair. Mazra is the blue and silver of lightning. Kedemel and Kashin are bathed in honey light. Lalezar is one with the leaves. Magustus Micaboo dreams rivers of gold. Ogma and Malik fade into the altered colours of underwater. Dami is surrounded by points of light. Maruk is as wild as his hair. Euromie and Europa lie reflected in jade water. Selendra is as remote as the moon she protects.

Instead of groping for more words, I'm going to refer you to the Web, where Suza Scalora has quite a presence. You can see pictures and excerpts from her book The Fairies, try Green Man Review also has a review. There are more samples here and here. For her related work with colour and meditation, have a look at her site.

Is The Witches and Wizards of Oberin worth reading? Frankly, you won't miss much if you don't read the words at all. The pictures, though -- that's something else again.

PS - for those of you interested in such information, Gisele Bundchen participated in this project.

[Faith Cormier]