A Field Guide to the North American Family is both a traditional codex book and a collaborative website. Together, they offer a multifaceted, multimedia, and (above all) collaborative look at the way we live now.
The book, a novella by Garth Risk Hallberg, tracks two families through the wilderness of modern life. The story unfolds in 63 entries, each comprising a chapter of text and a visual artist’s response to the entry’s title: Adolescence, Boredom, Chemistry…. Alphabetical headings and cross-referenced design enable users to read the Field Guide straight through, to peruse it as they would a nonfiction reference work, or to move through the narrative as they see fit.
The website, afieldguide.com, invites users to document their own encounters with the North American Family. Visual artists uploading to the website may also choose to have their images considered for the print edition. Responses to the Field Guide’s 63 “tags” will form the basis of this networked, open-ended resource for anyone studying the North American Family…or merely surviving it.