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A WANDERER IN OG (article first published : 2005-06-19)

A Wanderer in Og is an artistic delight from the moment you clap eyes on its delightful cover. It is subtitled “An Amphigory devised for your amusement by Nicholas Daly containing scribbles, ephemera and numerous sketches of Mr. Percy Fleur, painter of fine moustaches & minor vanities.”

I’m still trying to work out what “amphigory” is derived from!

Read the back cover for opinions of the Press and you will see that The Tootle Tatler describes it as “A gem worthy of a place in our histerical library” (Clarence Reed – Head Librarian). The Tootle Times says “Our wanderer in Og raises several questions of geographical and metaphysical importance. Where and who is Og?”, while the Tootle Barnacle Collectors Review hits the nail on the head with: “This is to look upon, a kingly, a lordly and knightly book with a handsome outer dressing and pages adorned by an artificer of high frivolity.”

I really couldn’t improve on this last description. However, I will plod on in my own modest way.

Once this skilfully aged ”handsome outer dressing” is removed, an old style of bookmaking is revealed with a “marbled” hard cover beautifully bound with the first page carrying a book prize certificate for “Stuff and Nonsense” from the School of Sillies at the University of Bosh and the Academy of Fools at Tootle on Sea. No need to mention that the certificate is dated April 1!

By now you will have gathered that Tootle plays an important role in this delicious masterpiece. It is the home of one Percy Fleur - painter of fine moustaches, as we have already gathered from the cover. In it he relates an absurd tale told to his niece Edwina about a witch’s leg and his wanderings in the land of Og.

Every page is a treat. Nicholas Daly’s illustrations portray this Quixotic figure with his huge hat as he sets off to paint the great Venetian red moustache of the Maharaja of Jamjar. In order to get there, he takes “the Old Northern Road to the South” and heads East. What other route could there possibly be?

He goes through numerous adventures, such as scaling the Great Steeple of St Humbug’s Cathedral, dining with Signor Aroni and his son Mac; and escaping a green dog with a mile-long tail which chases him up a Fruitcake tree whereupon sits a Jumbolian Fruit-eating Pollywog!

Award-winning children’s author Nicholas (Niki) Daly has conceived this “whimsical story for adults” in the style of Edward Lear. He lives in Mowbray, Cape Town, but admits to spending much time in Tootle by the Sea, Northern Og.

A Wanderer in Og is published by Double Story and retails at R135.00, ISBN1770130101. Buy it – for yourself and anyone else with a whacky imagination who enjoys beautifully illustrated clever nonsense. – Caroline Smart




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