Who Killed Amanda Palmer: A Collection of Photographic Evidence is a big and beautiful book filled with photography, song lyrics by musician Amanda Palmer, and short stories by Neil Gaiman. The pictures, by Kyle Cassidy, Beth Hommel, and many others, are of Amanda Palmer dead in difference places and from different causes. The lyrics are to Amanda Palmer's album of the same name, to which this book is a companion. And Neil Gaiman's short stories, which accompany some of the pictures, imagine scenarios that might have lead to Amanda Palmer's death. Sometimes they pose more questions than they give answers, but that only makes them more fun.
You might be wondering if you need to already be familiar with Amanda Palmer's music to be able to appreciate this book. The answer is probably no, but you'll appreciate it more if you are, and if you're not, the book will make you want to listen to the album. Which is a very good thing. Trust me, it is:
One of my favourite stories was the one accompanying the picture below, in which three young girls find the body of their governess, Miss Palmer, floating in a lake. The good news is that you can read it online. Other highlights were the gritty, urban retelling of the fairy tale "Diamonds and Toads", the creepy love letter "Modern Love", and "The Sword", in which a time-travelling Amanda kills her younger self.
Which brings me to another thing I wanted to mention: Who Killed Amanda Palmer is actually very funny. Really, it is. It's dark humour of a kind that perhaps not everyone will like, but it's most definitely my kind of humour. I think the book wouldn't work nearly as well as it does without the humour: the whole thing seems to have been done with the awareness that good art doesn't need to take itself too seriously to be serious, or evoke emotional responses. The laughter is there, but so are the horror and the occasional sadness. The overall tone is far from melancholy, though. This isn't so much a book about death as it is a book that celebrates life.
I'll leave you with a few more pictures (sadly I couldn't find my very favourites, but they're all stunning so there's no way to go wrong) and an excerpt:
(Oh, and also! There's a picture with Regina Spektor! This made me very happy, because I love her to bits - almost as much as I love Amanda.)
Very young children made up songs about the different ways Amanda died, killing her happily at the end of every verse, too young to understand the horror. Maybe it really was how she would have wanted to go.Visit the album's official site to find out more, stream songs, and watch awesome videos.
If you see Amanda Palmer on the street, kill her, said the graffiti under the bridge in Boston. And beneath that somebody else wrote, That way she'll live forever.
Stuff as Dreams are Made On
(As always, let me know if I missed yours.)