Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Designing McCarthy

I posted something about Stalker yesterday, and last night I noticed that the cover of the book I’m currently reading, Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing, has a pleasing similarity with Tarkovsky’s film - the image of the lone wolf at the river echoing the abandoned dog wandering the water-logged Zone. It’s a tenuous connection at best, but always a treat when an interest in one medium intersects with an interest in another. Cormac McCarthy’s books have seldom enjoyed eye-catching cover designs, his novels were frequently issued with the blandest of images, mostly generic Western landscapes or second-rate pulp thriller photography which offered little clue to the extraordinary writing inside.

Picador, McCarthy’s UK publisher have been as guilty as Vintage, their Stateside counterpart, but in recent years have made great improvements – the cover of my aforementioned copy of The Crossing at least makes reference to the story, and I really like 2010 reprints designed by David Pearson which dispensed with imagery altogether in favor of big, heavy, distressed looking typefaces.

First editions of McCarthy’s books command high prices these days, in the years before the Coen’s adaptation of No Country For Old Men, hardback editions of McCarthy’s books didn’t sell terribly well and have become very collectible. A beautiful clean copy of Random House’s first edition of Blood Meridian (which features Salvador Dalí’s 1933 painting The Phantom Cart on the cover) is currently on sale at eBay for $1,550.00…

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