The Principles of Uncertainty

by Maira Kalman
ISBN: 9781594201349

I was fascinated with the unexpected heaviness of this book as an object, and by the style of illustration – handwritten with bright colors and not polished (as in not antiseptic, not as in unfinished) – so of course I needed to bring it home when I found it at The Strand.

I love the sense of you can do that? that comes from this kind of book. “This kind” meaning a book that isn’t conventional: not a “regular” story or essay or even coffee table art book, but different somehow in ways that perhaps break unwritten but nevertheless sensed rules about how things are supposed to be.

The story catalogs a year in Kalman’s life. It goes from May to April, spring to spring. Not traditionally seasonal, though “The Impossibility of February” does seem accurate to me. It’s an idiosyncratic view, full of charm and musings, small and big questions. It meanders, and that makes it the sort of book I want to read while I drink coffee or tea, savoring it, stopping to stare out a window, or people watch around me. Recommended.

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