Friday, July 16, 2010

Cover Story

Two of my all-time favourite Janet Frame covers coincidentally both grace the same novel:

The Adaptable Man.

The covers are both very striking, using a single image to good effect.

Random House NZ published the double volume of Scented Gardens for the Blind and The Adaptable Man in 2007 as part of their Janet Frame Collection.

Frame trustee Denis Harold developed the idea that a chandelier might make a good motif for the cover, and after searching innumerable pages on the internet he finally found the brilliant photograph that was eventually to be incorporated into the cover design by Random House designer Christine Hansen.

The photograph is a view from below of a lit chandelier carved out of salt, located in one of the Polish underground cathedrals in the Krakow Salt Mines, these days understandably quite a tourist attraction.

The genius of the image is of course that it so much resembles the pupil of an eye... and also perhaps an atomic bomb burst.

The second cover - with the electrical plug - is from Tilpasning which is the Norwegian translation of The Adaptable Man published by Pax Forlag in Oslo Norway in 2001.

Both images strongly resonate with the themes contained in the text between the covers. And like the novel, the covers are startling, uncompromising and distinctive.

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