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Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Reluctant Fundamentalist, US and UK -- and Norwegian!

UPDATE: Elisabeth Bjone of Norwegian publisher Cappelen has sent an image of the soon-to-be-published Norwegian The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I think this works much better than the US and UK versions. The designer is Are Kleivan.



ORIGINAL POST:

Briefly, this is about a young Pakistani who graduates from Princeton, is recruited by an elite NYC financial company, and how his life changes in post-9/11 America and his return to Pakistan. The Guardian has a very good review.

The first image is the US cover, and I think it works for me, although I can't stop thinking this guy looks a bit too much like Benjamin Bratt from Law & Order. The stubble on his face is a nice touch, as the main character does grow a beard as he moves toward a more "authentic" Islamic life.



The UK cover (below) looks like a whole lot of things coming out of the UK recently (I'll try to round up some examples), but it hints at something the US cover doesn't: the book is essentially a monologue, with the main character telling his story to an American in a cafe in Pakistan. I'm guessing that would be them on the lower left.


Buy this book from Amazon.com

8 comments:

Elisabeth said...

We are currently working on a cover for the Norwegian Edition of this book. I'll try to remember to post a picture of it once it is finished.

Joseph said...

Elisabeth: we would love to see it! Thanks.

jasfitz said...

Regarding the American version, I can't decide if I'm comfortable with the level of facial reveal. I'm always very hesitant about the idea of having a photographic representation of a primary character on a cover. They sort of get away with it in this case by concealing portions, but I don't know if it's enough to give me the freedom to generate that character in my imagination. I actually do like the treatment visually, but I'm never fully satisfied if too much face is visible.

I do so hope that you can stir up the other examples for those of us (Canadian, in my case) who really don't get enough exposure to what the UK is putting out.

Ingrid said...

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is being published in Canada by Bond Street Books (an imprint of Doubleday Canada). They are using the UK cover in Canada.

A lot of times the US cover is used in Canada because of 'media bleed' (if the author is touring and doing TV engagements, or if the US publisher is advertising widely, then we'll see the same thing in Canada, therefore built-in 'free' publicity. Its a coattail mentality, and if Canadian media were stronger (or preferred by Canadians) than the American media, we'd likely not be doing that as often.

But I think Bond Street made the right choice: the UK cover is more compelling for me, and a better design.

Charles said...

One thing that is rarely brought up on this site is how much the publisher and the author play into the final design and what hoops the designer has to jump through. We did round after round and revision after revision and mix and match before the publisher and the author were happy with this. Some time there are just too many cooks in the kitchen. We are very pleased with the final design considering all the work that went into it. I'm referring to the U.S. version.

Joseph said...

Charles: You're absolutely right. We see the final product and not the struggle. But rather than having me or other readers guess about the process, I'd much rather hear from designers like you who were involved in the creation of what are, for the most part, really great covers.

Charles said...

Agreed Joseph. That makes sense. It would be interesting to hear from more designers about their covers and the process they went through. It can be such a struggle. It's a common occurance that designs get manipulated to the point of not wanting to put your name on it. All this reminds me of a quote from Art Chantry. He said "Anyone can do fine art. Graphic Design is hard."

Thomas said...

Actually, it looks like Norm McDonald. Former SNL sketchist...