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

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

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Leanne Shapton

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 184mm x 234mm x 12mm | 297g
  • Publication date: 2 November 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1408804727
  • ISBN 13: 9781408804728
  • Edition statement: Trade Paperback.
  • Sales rank: 64,619

Product description

Lenore Doolan, a food writer for the New York Times, meets Harold Morris, a photographer, at a halloween party in 2002. He is dressed as Harry Houdini. In Leanne Shapton's marvellously inventive and invented auction catalogue, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore and Harold (who aren't real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple's personal effects-the usual auction items (jewellery, fine art, and rare furniture) and the seemingly worthless (pyjamas, 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 Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris Leanne Shapton invites us to contemplate what is truly valuable, and to consider the art we make of our private lives.

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Author information

Leanne Shapton is an illustrator, writer and publisher who was born in Toronto and now lives in New York. She is the art director of the New York Times op-ed page and co-founder of J&L Books, a nonprofit publishing company specializing in new photography, art and fiction. She is the author of Was She Pretty?

Customer reviews

By David Brimage 10 Jan 2010 5

'Important artifacts and personal property from the collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, including books, street fashion and jewellery' by Leanne Shapton is the most unique book I have read this year and definitely my favourite.

It takes the form of an auction catalogue. The objects being sold are those the fictional couple Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris have built up during their relationship. Items not only include those you would expect to find in an auction such as first editions of books, high-end fashion and ornaments but also quirkier ones, for example invitations to friends' parties, postcards and theatre programme with their notes scrawled on them.

Through this ingenious mix the reader is invited to decipher the core of these two engaging characters. Similar to a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces gradually converge to give you an overall sense of the couple and their often tumultuous relationship. The beauty of the book is that the reader is able to draw his/her own conclusions on who is to blame for the problems in this relationship.

If you are by nature curious (nosy is such a negative word !) and have ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors this book is most definitely for you as it allows you to take a glimpse into another couple's life together. It is a similar experience to reading someone else's diary - an enticing but forbidden pleasure.

A clever idea, brilliant executed - this is a wonderful book which makes a great present or perhaps just simply a treat for yourself.

Review quote

Absolutely brilliant ...You look at the photographs and you get it immediately: this is a world of first editions, Dr Hauschka Rose Cream, Smythson diaries ... vintage clothing - but also of letters, scribbled-in paperbacks, postcards, takeaway menus, home-made presents ... Get it for your girlfriends - it's *the* perfect Christmas present' India Knight 'The task is daunting: How to render the dissolution of a romantic relationship in a new way? Leanne Shapton succeeds against all the odds with this wildly romantic and erudite book' Dave Eggers 'The biggest word-of-mouth sensation of the year' Independent