Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree Of Codes

Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree Of Codes

This really is an example of a book as art object rather than literature and it’s the kind of ‘object’ that fascinates those of us who love books, words and art.

Visual Editions, the publisher, describe it far better than I would be able:

Tree of Codes is one of our most celebrated titles. It has won awards (D&AD In Book Award, Book Design, 2011) served as the inspiration for Wayne McGregor’s contemporary ballet at the 2015 Manchester International Festival and has sold over 30,000 copies.

Our early conversations with Jonathan Safran Foer about Tree of Codes began with Jonathan saying he was curious to explore and experiment with the die-cut technique. With that as our mutual starting point, we spent many months of emails and phone calls, exploring the idea of the pages’ physical relationship to one another and how this could somehow be developed to work with a meaningful narrative. This led to Jonathan deciding to use an existing piece of text and cut a new story out of it. Having considered working with various texts, Jonathan decided to cut into and out of what he calls his “favourite book”: The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz.

As Jonathan began to carve out his story, we started doing our production homework and literally got turned down by every printer we approached – their stock line being “the book you want to make just cannot be made”. Thankfully, we found Die Keure in Belgium who relished the challenge of making a book with a different die-cut on every page.

Designed by Sara De Bondt Studio
Cover designed by Jon Gray

Interesting idea, no? Both in concept and execution. The Wayne McGregor Ballet mentioned is on the Spring season schedule at the Sadlers Wells – we have our tickets already.

Currently out of stock, it is possible to obtain (rather expensive) old-new copies from a very few booksellers –  see

A wonderful gift for the – word and book loving – special person in your life, perhaps? I know mine would love it.

P.S. Visual Editions publish a number of other interesting books. Click on the link to see more.

Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree Of Codes, inside page
Jonathan Safran Foer: Tree Of Codes, inside page

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