Martyn Bedford talks about M.C. Escher's Connection to Flip
Since I first came across M.C. Escher’s work, I’ve been a fan. I love the way his optical illusions draw you in, making you see the picture first one way then another, until the layers of sense and interpretation pile up.
One of my favourites is “Hand with Globe”, in which a bearded man with an intense expression is gazing at his reflection in a glass sphere. We see the hand holding the sphere but otherwise everything else in the picture is contained in the surface of the glass and, as a result, appears to be trapped inside.
There’s the man, of course, as well as the room he’s sitting in, with its chairs and bookshelves, but everything is distorted by the fish-eye curvature of the glass so that, in fact, the picture takes on the appearance of a surrealist work. I had a post-card sized print of this picture on my wall for years and, later, on my writing desk.
It chimes with one of the ideas I wanted to explore in FLIP – this notion that if we look at (or inside) ourselves closely enough, we begin to see ourselves differently. Who are we, really? Are we actually more interesting, more complex, more strange than we – and others – assume? Are we forced by the conventions of society to present a false image to the world which distorts the “true” us trapped inside?
Similarly, “Drawing Hands”, another of Escher’s better known works, has long been a favourite. Two hands in the final stages of sketching one another, each hand simultaneously creating the hand which creates it . . . it’s a wonderfully impossible puzzle. And if we assume they are the right and left hands of the same artist then it has something to say, too, about the interplay and interdependence of the right and left sides of the brain in creating works of art. This interests me very much as a writer.
In relation to FLIP, the image informs another of the novel’s themes, as Alex’s mind and Philip’s body become increasingly intertwined until it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. Is this hybrid Alex-Flip actually two separate boys or are the two slowly merging into one and, if so, how can Alex ever break free?
About the Book: One December night, 14-year-old Alex goes to bed. He wakes up to find himself in the wrong bedroom, in an unfamiliar house, in a different part of the country, and it's the middle of June. Six months have disappeared overnight. The family at the breakfast table are total strangers.And when he looks in the mirror, another boy's face stares back at him. A boy named Flip. Unless Alex finds out what's happened and how to get back to his own life, he may be trapped forever inside a body that belongs to someone else. Questions of identity, the will to survive, and what you're willing to sacrifice to be alive make this extraordinary book impossible to put down.
Here are the other stops on the blog tour, if you'd like to go back and visit them:
FLIP BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
Monday, April 18th Figment
Tuesday, April 19th Cracking the Cover
Wednesday, April 20th Suvudu
Thursday, April 21st The Children’s Book Review
Friday, April 22nd
Random Acts of Reading
I have been given 3 copies of Flip to give away to 3 of my readers. Please let me know in the comments if you would like to have one and random.org will choose the winners on Friday, April 29th. You can enter until Thursday, April 28th at midnight CST.