Not Here, But Almost
Review by Lisa Barrow
Alessandro SannaEnchanted Lion Books
You’ll recognize everything here. Arched azure sky on a breeze-ruffled spring afternoon. Tessellation of sun on water. Early morning when the treetops are softened by a gauze of gray. Cranes with outstretched wings. Sunsets so flashy they could be sci-fi backdrops. Purpled storm clouds unleashing their torrents. And the entity at the center forming the spine of all these moments, organizing them, defining them—a wide and moody river.
The body of water that snakes through The River isn’t Albuquerque’s Rio Grande, but it almost could be. It’s important in the same way. Watercolorist Alessandro Sanna hails from northeastern Italy near the Po River. In his afterword, he writes, “I have tried to paint these moments and variations of light without first sketching them with a pencil and without knowing if I’d be able to find the right tone or the exact color of the veil of light draped over the sky, the trees, and the houses in the fog.” Perhaps he’s being disingenuous. Over 400 illustrations and almost no words make up The River—part picture book, part graphic novel, part artistic meditation on the lifecycle that defines a place—and they hum with a carefully considered vitality.
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