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December 05, 2012

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

I will never forget the first time I read “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” as a child. It was an eye-opening experience: creative, grand, fantastical and classic all at the same time. This new Penguin Classics edition pairs the narrative with artwork by Yayoi Kusama; the book is as peppered with her famous polka dot patterns as a Kusama exhibit. Most of the art is more abstract than literal, which allows the reader room for his or her own visual interpretations of the adventures of the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts, Cheshire Cat and the hookah-smoking Caterpillar. Kusama is known as an artist who lives between reality and fantasy. Indeed, she declares at the end of the book, “I, Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland.” Together, the fantasy worlds of Lewis Carroll and Kusama make a magnificent rabbit hole to fall into.