News & Events
The photos are anything but ordinary. As we proceed from text to picture, from Garden to Adam to Eve, we are told what we should see, but we see more. Magic occurs. —Allen Hoffman, author of Lafayette in America
Photographer and author Neil Folberg has created a surprising interpretation of the age-old story of Adam and Eve. In his new photo narrative, SERPENT’S CHRONICLE (Abbeville Press; Publication Date: May 8, 2013; ISBN 978-07892-1138-5, hardcover, 80 pages, $29.95; e-book and Collector’s Edition also available), Folberg tells the Old Testament tale from an unexpected viewpoint, that of the serpent.
In Folberg’s story the serpent is an unseen actor, shaping the narrative and the actions of Adam and Eve without physically appearing in the photographs or being mentioned in the text. Folberg uses his expertise as a photographer to create unique images of familiar scenes like a forest, the human figure, and even the night sky. Presenting Adam and Eve as Everyman and Everywoman, Folberg shows us that the story of Eden is the true prototype of every human relationship and endeavor.
Serpent’s Chronicle will be available in three formats: hardcover, $29.95; enhanced e-book for the iPad, $5.95; and Collector’s Edition, which includes a hardcover in a presentation box with a signed and numbered print, $500.
Serpent’s Chronicle represents an evolution of his interest in staged photography: In a spirit of spiritual inquiry; Folberg’s retelling of the story, based on an ancient oral tradition and accompanied by poetic text, addresses the profound questions inherent in the biblical account.
Folberg had some trepidation about reinterpreting something as iconic as the story of Adam and Eve. “It’s crazy to take on a story like that,” said Folberg, “But you have the advantage that everybody thinks they know the story. This work is a somewhat romantic view of the world. I was interested in meaning, in telling a story. For my subject I was looking for those kinds of things that are ambiguous-it’s not clear what they are, what they’re about, what’s going on, if you weren’t involved in it you wouldn’t know what to make of it.” Folberg explains that the Garden of Eden is meant not to be paradise, but a testing ground for learning to deal with failure. “We were always meant to struggle. And that’s the lesson behind the story.”
Neil Folberg is known for his landscape and architecture photography of the Middle East and Mediterranean. His previous books include In a Desert Land (1987); And I Shall Dwell Among Them: Historic Synagogues of the World (1995); Celestial Nights (2001); and Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists (2007). His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the world, and is widely collected. He is proprietor of the Vision/Neil Folberg Gallery in Jerusalem.
Joseph Skibell, the author of the foreword, has written three widely acclaimed novels, A Blessing on the Moon, The English Disease, and A Curable Romantic. He is professor of English and creative writing at Emory University, and director of the Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature.
Allen Hoffmann, the author of the afterword, is an award-winning author of three novels, Small Worlds, Big League Dreams, and Two for the Devil?and a volume of short fiction, Kagan’s Superfecta and Other Stories. A longtime teacher of English literature and creative writing, he is retired from the faculty of Bar-Ilan University in Israel.
More praise for Neil Folberg
“With an eye sharpened by light and a heart deepened by midrash, Neil Folberg captures these truths in a photo-narrative that is, at once, beautiful and tragic.” — Joseph Skibell, author of A Blessing on the Moon
“[A series of] lush depictions [that use] subtle anachronism, metaphor, and theatricality to memorable effect.” — ARTnews
NEW YORK, N.Y., April 18, 2013 – Sometimes Just One Is Just Right by Gayle Byrne (Abbeville Press; publication date: April 23, 2013; ISBN 978-0-7892-1129-3, hardcover, 32 pages, $15.95) delivers an engaging message to only children: only doesn’t have to mean lonely.
Byrne, a children’s librarian and parent of an only child, wrote the book for the growing number of only children in the United States. In fact, one in five American families have one child according to the National Center for Health Statistics and it is the fastest growing type of family in this country.
Written for ages four through eight, Sometimes Just One Is Just Right conveys the ups and downs of being an “only” as told through the eyes of an energetic and thoughtful boy. He learns to appreciate his situation as he compares himself to his cousin who has many siblings. A refreshing change from the assumption that only children are lonely or spoiled, this book has a positive message of self-sufficiency and states that “only doesn’t have to mean lonely.”
“I wanted to take the same, reassuring tone of Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas Not Mommies and Daddies and use it with another childhood situation, being an only child,” says Byrne. “Again, through the eyes of a youngster, we get a glimpse into another unusual, yet not uncommon, family dynamic.”
Sometimes Just One Is Just Right follows a likable young boy through his life as an only child, with rhyming text accompanying illustrations of his activities. He snuggles into bed with his parents on Saturday mornings, when “Mom hugs me from one side, Dad hugs from the other, and I’m the yummy stuff in the middle of their sandwich.” He visits his cousin, Nico, who plays rock, paper, scissors with his siblings to decide who gets the special red cup;
not so with our hero, he can have the red cup every day if he wants. From visits to his grandparents to TV time, the narrator finds the joy in being “just one.”
Gayle Byrne is a children’s librarian at Killingworth Library, where she has worked for ten years. An award-winning educator, she previously taught English and child development. Byrne is an active member of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and lives happily with her granddaughter, Jasmine. Mary Haverfield has been illustrating children’s books for more than twenty years. She has illustrated more than ten picture books for children, including Harriett the Homeless Raccoon. She lives in Dallas with her husband, Pat.
Praise for Sometimes Just One Is Just Right
“This is the first book I’ve seen that beautifully describes the realities of being an only child, and through humor and honesty shares the acceptance and joy of being “just one.” – Di Ana Pisarri, founder of NYC-based The Kidz Coach.
Praise for Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas, Not Mommies and Daddies, also by Byrne and Haverfield
“A great way to introduce children to other family structures” – New Haven Register
“Haverfield’s watercolors give a softness to the illustrations, perfectly reflecting the tone of the story itself” – The Hartford Courant