Maneater is an artist book in which four stories, in terms of both physical and narrative structure, nestle within one another like Russian nesting dolls. Every time a new character’s name is spoken, the reader is able to remove and read a separate book that follows that character’s life story. The first book’s protagonist is a wealthy shut-in who becomes obsessed with an exotic deity; the three enclosed books reveal the retired businessman’s colonialist past and the history of the deity’s native land. With every book, the narrative as a whole moves backwards chronologically in time. The visual style echoes that of 19th century childrens’ mass-market hardcover adventure books, whose bright and captivating illustrations belied the troubling imperialist messages conveyed within.
Maneater is a limited edition of 50 copies, which, with funding from the Caxton Club and the Albert P. Weisman award, were completely hand screen-printed at Spudnik Press in Chicago. The books were then hand-bound by the artist. For more information or inquiries, please visit hannahbatsel.com.