Review: Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market

Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If Arthur Rackham and H. P. Lovecraft had an artist lovechild, that artist might create fanciful horror illustrations like Omar Rayyan's lush watercolor and oil images. I discovered Rayyan long ago on on his Etsy studio page, where his print of his oil painting titled "The Socialite" made me laugh out loud. Finding that Rayyan had released an illustrated interpretive edition of Christina Rossetti's iconic poem Goblin Market was a delightful surprise that made great sense, when I think of some of Rayyan's frightful yet humorous creatures. It's easy to imagine that Goblin Market has long fascinated him.

This is a book targeting adults, based on its somewhat steep $35 price tag. But if you love his work, you'll know that it's a real bargain to have so many of his illustrations. And if you love the poem that has inspired so many writers of magic, it's all the better. My only criticism is that if you want to read the verses paired to the many images, the delicately drawn text is rather difficult to read. Though the full poem is offered in clear bold text at the back, flipping back and forth reduces the enjoyment and flow of his illustrations. I'd suggest reading the full poem first and then paging through the 80+ pages of illustrations, letting the imagery lead you through Christina Rossetti's sensuous masterpiece of sisterly love overcoming goblin malice.

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