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Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: Not that Boyce is trying to do that.

The UnForgotten Coat 'LOL'

Review of the Day: On shelves September 13th. Reviewed from galley sent by publisher.

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For a good time check out the British cover of the same book: Best Books of , Reviews Tagged With: Comments Elizabeth Fama says: August 23, at August 23, at 1: Karen Gray Ruelle says: August 25, at 3: This book sounds fantastic, Betsy. Thanks for reviewing it—I will look for a copy. September 3, at 3: She's never thought much about the world outside Bootle but the arrival of Chingis and his younger brother Nergui is about to change all that. The two boys are nomads from Mongolia and they arrive at school on a hot summer's day, wearing traditional Mongolian furry coats and hats.

And in return he tells her stories of horsemen and eagles and shows her Polaroid photos of a land far away. But the two boys are afraid. They believe a demon is chasing them and so they are secretive, taking a different route home from school each day and baking offerings to deflect the evil spirit. There's a lot more to this short but important tale but I've probably told you too much already.

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Suffice it to say that Julie is in for a shock, the kind of shock she'll remember for the rest of her life. The Unforgotten Coat is funny and original and slightly surreal. It speaks about nostalgia, friendship and the enrichment of lives by other lives, and it explores the deeply divisive issue of immigration without getting on a soapbox but equally without sitting on the fence. I can't imagine a single child or adult to whom I wouldn't recommend it. In the summer of some dates were agreed, so the exhibition, at least, was going to happen.

The Unforgotten Coat exhibition

So now Carl and Clare needed to decide how best to exhibit their images. That, perhaps, is when it all went deliciously wrong. Making digital images into analogue Polaroid-style photographs is, it turns out, not a trivial matter.

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  • For a start, film had to be acquired. There is a current brand of Polaroid film, but only at a size smaller than the classic format replicated in the book. This never quite worked — there were issues of focus and framing, and a kind of inescapable flatness. Alternative approaches were mooted; recreating the images at the original sites difficult given the extensive use of props or going to the locations and holding up hard copies of the images, sliced from the book with a scalpel and photographing them, hand and all.

    I began to envisage some kind of mad road trip around Merseyside, fake Polaroids or where they the real ones? As time went on this began to seem like the best solution. It was as if the technology had come full circle, or at least formed a strange, possibly infinite loop. The creation of a one-shot, this-is-it image that develops itself, in the dark, in a kind of built-in chemistry lab would never be simple.

    The Unforgotten Coat

    First myself as I had an iPhone , then Carl as a new departmental iTouch for future use as a marketing social media generator, when it will doubtless spawn thousands of Instagram images in the carefree world of total digital profligacy without consequences, had been acquired and loaned to him burned through packets of high-end 8 COLOR PHOTOS Impossible film like 60s-era chain-smokers working through packs of Guards.

    Scan of an exhibited image: Then there are all the discards. Everyone loves the broken images, the unexpected chemical swirls, bizarre over- or underexposures, ghosts in the machine, love letters from the goddess of chance. None are failures — even a black panel is a photograph of the inside of the camera. Yet somehow these were not right for the main sequence — an interesting aspect of this particular bit of creative research.

    One can love accident, rough edges, unintended outcomes, imperfection, arbitrariness — but there is still a boundary of acceptability, a judgement to be made.

    Nevertheless it was always intended that the discards should be exhibited as well, which led to a whole set of further questions. Perhaps like being in a band.

    Review of the Day: The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce

    Somehow, on the day of the exhibition opening, it came to an end. So now we have photos on a wall to look at. The process of producing them has involved so many layers of substitution, multiplication and transformation that it is hard to firmly locate any actual subject of these images. Try to retrace the steps: Each stage adding or subtracting a layer of process, of rendition into pixels and pigment… the final selection seems to hold all of that history in the white frames.