Barbara Hodgson’s The Tattooed Map

I’m always amazed at what I can come across in second-hand bookshops. Today I found a copy of the heavily illustrated / documented first novel The Tattoed Map by the Canadian novelist Barbara Hodgson. First published in 1995, a year before the first English translation of W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants was published, this novel tells the story of Lydia, a woman traveller in North Africa who awakens one morning with a mark on her hand: the tattoo soon grows into a tattoo that turns out to be a map of an unknown territory. It contains a lot of visual material, from colour illustrations and maps to black and white photographs, from manuscript notes to printed documents in foreign languages. In this it seems both similar to and utterly different from what Sebald was doing, but it might still be worth reading.

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