Lulu in New York and Other Tales by Robert Power & Max Ferguson
Max Ferguson’s paintings hang in prominent public and private collections around the globe. Often featuring solitary figures, the brooding atmospheres and urban (mostly New York) landscapes have a narrative and cinematic quality that hint at hidden stories, secrets, and conversations waiting to happen. Robert Power’s critically acclaimed fiction of longing and resolution, alienation and loving, provides the perfect vehicle to breathe life into these luscious paintings. This unique collaboration was sparked when, in 2014, Power’s publishers chose Ferguson’s Mister Softee for the cover of his prize-winning short story collection Meatloaf in Manhattan.
The outcome is Lulu in New York and other Tales, an exquisite and beautifully crafted volume of sixty stories from Power, inspired by Ferguson’s paintings that span his entire career. Some of the pictures, like Chess Players and Interiors suggested whimsical or heart-rending conversations. Others, such as Woman in Bath, Subway and Billy’s Topless have violence and menace simmering at their core. And then there are paintings that tell tales of refection, reminiscing and of love both lost and found. An aged Mr. Gordon looking over the East River. The couple in Bobby Short recalling their first meeting. And another Couple in Hallway stumbling over their words, saddened by infidelity. What binds Ferguson’s painting and Power’s storytelling is a common understanding and appreciation of the nuances, agonies and ecstasies, complexities and delicacies, of the human condition. What results is the telling of tales that are just about to happen, or which have already occurred. Those that whisper and echo. Just out of sight, just around the corner.
PUBLISHED IN JUNE 2017 BY UNICORN PRESS (LONDON), and UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS (USA).
The Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway, Manhattan, New York: 6.30pm to 9pm, Wednesday, 24th May 2017
Waterstones, 203-206 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1: 6.00pm to 8pm, Tuesday, 6th June 2017