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Monday, July 23, 2007

The Chess Machine

Design by Gray 318

About to finish DeLillo's Falling Man, I think I need a something a little lighter for my next book. This might be it:


From the Publishers Weekly review: "Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen of Hungary, anxious to win the favor of Empress Maria Theresia, builds an engineering marvel: the Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing automaton. The Turk, though, isn't exactly as it seems; hidden inside is Italian chess prodigy (and dwarf) Tibor Scardenelli." Murder, deceit and other tasty things follow.

The silhouette approach seems very appropriate for a novel set in 1770.

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UPDATE: A most awesome reader points out that the UK cover is pretty wonderful as well:


And like the little eye on this jacket, the falling woman on the left is a nice asymmetrical touch.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

The design continues around the back cover as well. It's really hard pulling off a cover with this many elements, but here I think it works.

Ian B. Shimkoviak said...

I like this. The contrasting B/W forms are fun and tell a story. The chess piece cogs etc. Unfortunately the style and overall look feels like it belongs with the A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, Lemony Snicket tales. Not sure if this is intentional. Nice type choices...

The story sound very fun and I agree that the silhouette hints to the time period very nicely. I wonder if the characters on the cover were sourced from an old book of Victorian clip art...?

James said...

Looks like a borrowing from Kara Walker to me.

Anonymous said...

Gray 318?

Ian B. Shimkoviak said...

Kara Walker...

true. true.

Court said...

While I do enjoy this cover, I much prefered the British cover to the American one. It's similar in style, but it suits the story of the book a little better.

Joseph said...

Thanks! I forgot to look for the UK cover. I'll post it.

Sergio said...

Great find. (times two) I wonder if the use of silhouette by both publishers was a unified editorial decision (possbly suggested by the author?) or just a case of design synchronicity...

Ian B. Shimkoviak said...

Yeah, I wonder too. It seems that it would be an editorial thing that the designers interpreted in their own way. Good continuity though. It would be interesting to see if this happens with other books more often then we think.

Dan K said...

Not really a comment on the design, which is wonderful, but this story line also plays a part in Lawrence Norfolk's wonderful Lempriere's Dictionary.

andrea said...

I saw this (US design) Thursday at the bookstore and wondered if I might see it here. I have no art or design background, so mostly I think of a successful design as one that will sell the book, and the first step is to get looked at for longer than a glance. Thanks to reading this blog, though, now when something catches my eye, I try to identify why. Funny, I didn't think about black and white as obvious references to chess until I saw both covers; maybe because there are no straight lines in the design -- the opposite of a chess board.

Michael said...

Despite the fact that the two are so similar, I strongly prefer the UK cover - I can't really explain why.

And yes, both of these designers left a set of teeth marks on Kara Walker.