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Sunday, February 18, 2007

On Beauty, UK and US (paperback)

It took me a minute to see the female figure in the UK version (top). Beautiful. I don't dislike the US version (bottom), but this race isn't even close.




Buy the U.S. paperback from Amazon.com

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

US wins for me

Seth Christenfeld said...

So many UK covers seem to use that exact same font. What's up with that?

James said...

Seems I've seen a number of these retro-psychedelic covers from the UK recently, such as the one on David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas. As far as I can tell, the style doesn't have much to do with the content of these books, it's just a visual trend.

Joseph said...

James: it's funny you mention Cloud Atlas -- yes, it's very much like that.

Francois Tremblay said...

The US one is terrible.

Andrea said...

Wow, that's stunning. I've seen the US cover and was totally put off. No punctuation -- it looks like it's a really loooong interview someone had with Zadie Smith, where she discusses beauty. Or a piece of lit crit on the theme of "beauty" in Smith's books. I hate hate hate seeing poor grammar or punctuation that obscures meaning.

brian said...

Andrea, I don't understand your trouble with the cover's grammer. where are you seeing the error? The US version is much more successful at capturing the elegance of the novel, which i have read. Personally, I think the type treatment is beautiful and unique. I group it with one of the best covers of 2005 (the hard cover being the same design).

brian said...

i just mispelled grammar. . .

Joseph said...

Brian: Not speaking for Andrea here, but I think what she might mean is that "Zadie Smith On Beauty" reads as a phrase on the US version, making it sound like a non-fiction book. There's no visual hierarchy.

I like the type as well, although I still prefer the UK version, trendy tho' it might be.

Andrea said...

Yep, you got it. Another thing that bugs me about it is that the colors are so similar to the design of Mark Haddon's Curious Incident, which became such a big hit. I agree, though, about the elegance of the type.

sheryl said...

I prefer the UK version, even though the American hardcover (with the same type) had a wonderful, tactile letterpress-y thing going for it.

Perhaps the UK version's typography is a theme for Zadie Smith books-- even though the typeface is different than the type on 'White Teeth'. See the Penguin 70 cover for 'Martha and Hanwell' (same typeface as 'On Beauty') and the matching typefaces for 'The Autograph Man' and 'White Teeth'-- all bold sans serif for the author's name.