Wednesday Cover Story: The Not-So-Brilliant Cover…

The same day the advance copies of the upcoming Kate Forsyth novel The Wild Girl came into the office last week (and everyone collectively swooned at its cover – have a look), I got home to find a delivery of a book I’d ordered for a university class next year; The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead.

I can’t say I marveled at its beauty as I did with The Wild Girl. In fact, if I hadn’t been obliged to buy the book, I’d probably have run 100 miles from it. The cover (which seems to be from a reissue in 1965) manages to be dull and slightly terrifying at the same time, which is quite an achievement. The fact that my copy is second-hand, yellowing and enormous at 527 pages only adds to its unappealing exterior. Equally, the title in huge letters, with its extremely different connotations now in 2013 than when the novel was first published in 1940, isn’t helping matters either. I don’t think it’s one I’ll be reading on public transport…

As I haven’t started the novel yet, I have no idea how much relevance the image of the man has to the plot, but what I do know is that, surely, the publishers could have come up with a better cover. As we all know, book covers are supposed to draw you in and the truly great ones actually add something to the story, and allow even the author to see their work in a new light. This cover however would likely put a potential reader off, which is a great shame considering the book, at the time, was named by TIME as one of the greatest of the 20th century. It is important for publishers to update their works in order to ensure they remain relevant and appealing to a new generation (although the controversial update of The Bell Jar earlier this year might be an example of how not to do it!). After some scouring of the internet I did find a couple of updated covers for Christine Stead’s novel but I’ll leave you to judge if they are improvements…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Fortune, currently doing work experience at A&B

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