cover image Gnomes


Vivian Russell. Frances Lincoln, $14.95 (136pp) ISBN 978-0-7112-2325-7

""A sense of the ridiculous ... is one of life's best levellers,"" writes writer and photographer Russell (Monet's Garden, etc.), and there are few things more ridiculous and strangely entertaining than garden gnomes. Russell combines an eye for the absurd with a genuine appreciation for these jovial figurines, photographing them in a wide variety of positions and outrageous situations. There is an all-gnome chess set, a gnome fishing on the side of the road and even a gnome with a laptop and a cell phone. The diversity of painted facial expressions is remarkable. Each statuette possesses a unique personality, though all exude a level of joy. As Russell writes, ""gnomes are optimists, they breathe contentment,"" and it is impossible to look at these photographs without smiling. In her travels, Russell has met some extreme gnome fans, such as an elderly man who dresses like a gnome twice a week. Although readers will probably not reach the same level of obsession, they will undoubtedly enjoy flipping through these delightful, vibrant photos and reading Russell's fond musings on these adorable garden accessories.