by Mark Aldrich


Remnants against Ruin pulls the reader into the exploits of a group of cartoon animal women known as the SPOOL Society (Sisters for the Preservation Of Old Landmarks).  Each member represents a different country.  The novel is composed of separate episodes, which are set in motion by the Society’s study of architectural history.  In each of the fifteen episodes, A SPOOL Society member visits a specific building and has a series of adventures; eventually her experiences are written up and delivered as a lecture to the group.

    Occasionally in the stories, the characters “freeze in mid-motion so that they assume the position of the subjects of famous paintings.  These frozen moments are the “remnants against ruin”; they allude to art’s role in preserving important moments in history.  When the narrative motion stops, the reader can pause and reflect upon the story, since the characters or motion are sometimes being emphasized, sometimes with comic effect.  This “freeze” is also related to the preservationist work of the SPOOL Society