Friday, 31 March 2017

A Tale of Two Covers


Larkinian:
UK first edition, 2009

Jamesian:
UK paperback reprint, 2016

It's my belief that Brookner hasn't been well served by her covers, or rather that very few of them have captured the true Brooknerian vibe. The original edition of Strangers seems a case in point - a lazy cover, depicting a vaguely Brookner-style building, but one that, to me at least, looks too suburban. I do not like the lighting either. Brooknerians don't burn the midnight oil. The image has, to my mind, something of a sense of Philip Larkin's high windows. Paul Sturgis, the main character of the novel, is possibly a little Larkinian, but only a little.

Far, far superior is the cover of the recent paperback reprint. We move from London to Venice, a minor setting in the novel but perhaps its touchstone. Brookner, as has been noted, is nothing if not European. And the image itself is very fine. One is reminded of those frontispiece photographs Henry James commissioned for his New York Edition. I've used this one before in my blog, but it repays revisiting:

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