Is there a narrative? Probably, but I could not tell. I just closed my eyes and landed on random pages when I started reading the book. I was feeling uncomfortable (I guess that’s the word) with the beginning theme of “this is my book, this is what it stands for”, the “humument” that was being created, toges and so forth. But I suspect that if there were a stable narrative or plot I would question whether it were purposefully drawn out by the poet or one looking too much into linear sequencing and it just so happens that those were the words that created the poem that Phillips saw fit to create or one just seeing the correlation of the words used as poetry with the words of the Human Document.
I found the artwork fitting in some cases and empty in others, but I think it was the variation of style that caught me. The artwork either echoed the themes of the poetry on the page or stood silent to let the words speak for themselves. Pleasing to the eye, but rarely as stimulating as some of the poetry.
Overall, when I first laid my hands on the book I was excited. It had the guise of the masterpiece I had been waiting for all my life because it is tediously creative and beautiful. But with a second and third glance through it’s glossy pages, I began to understand it more for its purpose which I believe (sorta) to be, rewriting history in a politically, socially, climactic time as the 1970s. Stenciling over the Victorian age itself with a breathe of ingenuity and fantastic art in most of it’s pages.