Utopian Man by Lisa Lang
“I was immediately struck by the energy and flair of a man who led a life unconstrained by convention or public opinion,” says author Lisa Lang of Edward Cole, who opened Cole’s Book Arcade on Bourke Street in Melbourne in 1883, and inspired her book Utopian Man. Cole’s Book Arcade was not an ordinary bookstore, it was filled with animals, a brass band, a Chinese tearoom, optical illusions, and a fernery. Edward was someone who saw magic in everything around him, and invested time making his imagination become a reality.
Edward Cole would be an inspiring individual in any century, and certainly a visionary during a very conservative time in Australia. Through thorough research and creativity, Lang was able to give light to an inexhaustibly idealistic real life character, and when put on paper, he becomes absolutely majestic.