It is a challenge to write even a capsule review of this book because Harvey's erasures blend into Porter's haunting illustrations that it is difficult to talk about one without pointing out the other. Harvey has carefully chosen each word from the available choices from the Cecil biography, with facing pages containing quotes such as "Lamb found Mary crying in the hedge" being followed by "As pretty as a poem was Mary." Porter's images are vivid, with the languid Mary being contrasted by the sometimes pleading, yearning Lamb:
Lamb yearns, to be human, to be intimate with Mary. It is a desire that takes on occasion the shape of mad jealousy, replete the horrid retaliations to Mary's diffidence. As the erased story progresses, it deepens, touches certain raw nerves that formerly had lain dormant. Harvey's ability to create evocative poetry (not to mention Porter's complementary illustrations) out of a biography is remarkable. A structure emerges from erasure that bears nothing in common with the original yet is beautiful when beheld. Of Lamb builds to a crescendo that crashes and burns in a magnificent way, leaving the reader pondering the poignant, weird beauty that can be created from the erasure of the mundane. Highly recommended.