This heavy 400 page book spanning eight distinct themes of Crewdson's work is beautifully produced and printed. The book comes with a thick slip case and the images are printed on high quality paper. The printing and colors is very well done, and I am sure the book will be a collectors item, especially if it does not stay in print. Given the price and production, this is very likely.
The main drawback of the book is its uneven and limited content. The book covers eight themes:
Early Work - 1986-88 - 19 plates - I do not care for these images at all. Compared to his later work they seem amateurish and not well composed.
Natural Wonders - 1996-97 - 14 plates - These images, mostly of insects depicting another world in our gardens are carefully staged and are somewhat interesting, but not really outstanding.
Hover - 1996-97 - 9 plates - This short theme is of interest because of its depiction of surreal events as seen from above a suburban neighborhood, but it does not hold the interest of the viewer for long.
Tonight - 1998-2002 - 20 plates - This section has several stand out images and her for the first time the themes of alienation combined with the surreal are explored in a Hopperesque manner. The viewer find him/herself as a voyeur watching people in intimate, yet often surreal settings.
Dream House - 2002 - 12 plates - This theme uses similar techniques to "Tonight", but the images have less impact.
Fireflies - 2006 - 26 plates - I find this section the least appealing of his work. These are basically all monochrome images of Fireflies taken at slow shutter speeds. A few toward the end are interesting because of the patterns the fireflies make, but in terms of composition and depth they have little impact.
Beneath the Roses - 2003-08 - 41 plates - Easily the best section in the book. At least half of these images are standout work. Highly produced, immaculately arranged and lit and with strong visual impact. These are engrossing to the viewer combining settings in Middle America with inexplicable and/or voyeuristic scenes. Many convey a strong sense of loneliness and despair.
Sanctuary - 2009 - 20 plates - These monochrome images were Shot on location at the Cinecittà studios in Rome. After looking through "Beneath the Roses" they are a bit of a come down, though the technique and lighting are very good.
The book contains a total of 201 images in these eight sections. Preceding each section is a short fictional piece by Jonathan Lethem with the collective title "Stations of the Relocated Witness". I did not find these interesting, nor did they add anything to my appreciation of the images. I would have preferred more on camera technique, lighting, inspiration and background to each series, production, etc. There is also a short introduction in the book, as well as production credits at the end and a short biography and bibliography.
If you like all of Crewdson's work or want an overview of it presented in a lavish manner, then this book is for you. I find the content much too uneven personally to recommend it for purchase. I think if you are interested in Crewdson's work you are better off buying "Beneath the Roses" separately.
Review by Walter O. Koenig