Wednesday Cover Story: Making a ‘serious’ statement with statues

Statues are a recurring feature in cover designs for modern classics, or books which want to position themselves as such in my mind.

There was the cover I chose among a few different editions when buying a copy of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which perfectly suits the story superficially (a group of students brought together by a Greek class) and the tragedy that unfolds.

Then there’s the look we went for when rejacketing one of Anthony Burgess’ novels The Kingdom of the Wicked, which fell in with the epic spread of the story Burgess sets out to tell.


And most recently there’s Perfect Lives by Polly Samson.

To be honest, at first I thought it was some kind of lampoon of highbrow fiction – perhaps something like the Stephenie Meyer spoofs.  But, no, upon more careful analysis I discovered that it’s a serious work of literature. So, while trying not to be flippant, did the cover designer on this think that the best way to express Samson’s story of a hopeless search for perfection, was by depicting a statue getting groped?

Thoughts please!

Lesley-Anne Crooks, Sales & Digital Manager

Want to flag up a cover you loved or hated for our Wednesday Cover Story? Write to chiara@allisonandbusby.com with your thoughts

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3 thoughts on “Wednesday Cover Story: Making a ‘serious’ statement with statues”

  1. It wasn’t the cover designer – it was the author! The statue getting groped illustrates a scene from the book where, you guessed it, a statue gets groped. Virago’s design team had other ideas but I wanted to see how it would look and sent my twenty year old son out with a photography student friend to see if they could capture an image. I didn’t expect their work to make the final cut, it was more of an experiment and for them a bit of a jape. I rather like it but then I have only myself to blame.

  2. Hi Polly – great to see you over ‘here’ joining in the discussion. I’m always fascinated by the many and varied journeys cover take before they reach their audience. Nice that this was also a family affair.

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