The Fate of Fausto
Yet another stunning picturebook from award-winning artist Oliver Jeffers, The Fate of Fausto is a beautiful work. A modern cautionary tale, it tells the simple but compelling story of Fausto who set out to rule the Earth and own all that he could survey from the mountains to the seas. But nature, as we know, bends to no man, and some things in life can neither be bought nor sold.
Beautifully told with very few words, this story is all about the images and the empty white space on many of the pages, almost symbolic of the emptiness of Fausto’s soul. Fausto, who bears some similarities to Goethe’s Faust who sold his soul to the devil in return for more worldly pleasures, is portrayed as a successful businessman, and the brown tones used to illustrate him are in stark contrast to the rich and stunning blue tones used to depict the wonders of the sea. The use of traditional manual lithography and typesetting from 1945 gives The Fate of Fausto a timeless quality. The first half of the book mostly uses a palette of browns with a pop of bright pink to lift it, while the second half uses mainly teal blues and pale sea-greens, with splashes of bright yellow. Interestingly, the more Fausto owns, the smaller his physical size becomes, almost as if he becomes diminished by his greed and wealth. A beautifully illustrated fable that could be used as a stimulus to generate discussion with young readers about greed, nature and ownership.