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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Has Anyone Seen Thomas Pynchon Lately?

These books, I mean. Last year's Penguin Classics edition of the Frank Miller-designed Gravity's Rainbow was genius; this year's paperback of Against the Day doesn't do much for me at all. But still, they're the ones out in the shops, which is why these have me a bit puzzled.

I'm not done looking around, but I haven't seen any books from this (new?) Vintage series in person. The Vintage Classics site shows only V., The Crying of Lot 49 and Slow Learner for sale, and Amazon (US) lists some as having been published in November, with more coming on December 20th.

Has anyone seen any of these or know anything about them?






17 comments:

ian shimkoviak said...

ugly.

Joseph said...

I don't disagree but I do want to see them up close.

mog said...

I like them. And I don't think it's just my love of matching book sets, because I liked the first one before I scrolled down to see that there was more than just one cover. :)

Saying that they're ugly is like saying that the background is too cluttered. It's kind of, um, supposed to be. These designs accomplish what they set out to do. Whether you like what they set out to do or not is obviously subjective.

These aren't necessarily my favorite covers of each individual book (last year's Gravity's Rainbow cover was, as Joseph said, genius) but I think it's my favorite treatment of the set as a whole. It might be the first time I've seen a Thomas Pynchon set, though. :)

Michael said...

I love the cover of the paperback Against the Day (the black one). I picked up that book because I liked its spine, and then I bought it because I liked the cover. The only thing that bugs me about it is that the image in the center of the cover is not very high quality. It's pixelated, like a low-quality jpeg.

PF said...

god that's awful. the designers were probably told to do something strong, something bold, but this is just awful.

Fifi said...

The background is very "Where's Waldo" and the font is very Hooked-on-Phonics. Not a fan.

Andrew Wheeler said...

This is what happens when a designer decides to only create one cover for six books, and that's a horrible choice. It's as if Vintage is admitting that only Pynchon fanatics will bother to buy any of his books, since no one else will be able to tell them apart.

Anonymous said...

Those are extremely hideous. And they're just too whimsical for Pynchon, I think.

Anonymous said...

God Awful.

beauGeste

Anonymous said...

i don't like the typeface, but i quite like that exuberant mess bhind it. especially on 'v'.

greg

hope said...

I agree with the "too whimsical" assessment... not a big fan of the design in the first place, but the main problem is that the covers don't match the tone of the books very well at all... really odd.

Anonymous said...

These covers induce a deep sense of revulsion in me.

I think of the "real" covers of these -- the minimalist white for Against the Day, the beautiful archaic type for Mason & Dixon, the V2 rocket on the Penguin Classics version of Gravity's Rainbow -- and I cannot but think this series is deeply flawed and utterly misguided. Not to mention just butt-ugly. Ack.

Christian in NYC

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify: The original hardcover edition of Against the Day

http://www.amazon.com/Against-Day-Thomas-Pynchon/dp/159420120X

that I was referencing above is, in my opinion, head and shoulders better than the kind of meh paperback version you cite and also seem to dislike, Joseph. You really have to see the hardcover version in person to fully appreciate its subtlety.


Christian in NYC

Joseph said...

Agreed about the hardcover for Against the Day; it's grown on me.

Tom Froese said...

Against the Day and V are nice. I love the complexity of the illustrations. True, some of the titles are fugly though. Engages the viewer, however, to try to find hidden messages.

T

Joseph said...

If I ever see one of these in person -- and I'm stil looking -- I'll be sure to take some photos and describe what's going on.

sophie bonaparte said...

these edition of against the day has been on sale in the UK and the european export market since about september 2007.
unfortunately the quality of paper and type isn't really convincing either...