Thoughtful Gifts for Curious People

Bold Ventures: Thirteen Tales of Architectural Tragedy


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Across thirteen chapters, Belgian poet Charlotte Van den Broeck uncovers the stories of buildings that ended up proving fatal for their architects - architects who either killed themselves or are rumoured to have done so. Ranging across time and space from seventeenth-century French church with a twisted spire, to a Washington theatre that collapsed mid-performance in the 1920s, and an eerily sinking swimming pool in the town of Turnhout.

Drawing on a vast range of material, from Hegel and Charles Darwin to art history, stories from her own life and popular culture, patterns gradually come into focus, as Van de Broeck looks at that strange life-or-death connection between a creation and its creator.

Threaded through each story is a meditation on the question of suicide - what Albert Camus called the 'one truly serious philosophical problem' - in relation to creativity and public disgrace. The result is a profoundly idiosyncratic book, breaking new ground in literary non-fiction, as well as providing solace and consolation - and a note of caution - to anyone who has ever risked their hand at a creative act.

Hardback, 304 pages.
Measures 14.4 x 22.2 cm.