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Granta has issued "the first illustrated edition" of Ben Marcus's quietly seminal The Age of Wire and String. It's a very, very 'andsome production, a lovely object I'm sure to press into the mitts of many friends, but the illustrations, by drawing out meanings previously interred in the text, somehow detract from the pleasure of Marcus's perfectly pitched prose poetry. It's a curious occasion when images are more blatant than words, but this is what we have here: a book that has always finally escaped from the reader now burdened by the mechanism used to help explicate it.

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