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Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Dissident, hardcover and paperback

Frequent readers of the BDR might remember a post from a few weeks ago in which John Gall is quoted talking about the differences between hardcover and trade paperback cover design. Here's another great example of a paperback design that's lost its way:

This no longer reads as "A Chinese artist is a guest of a dysfunctional Beverly Hills family in this debut novel of global misunderstanding" like the hardcover did. Well, I guess the Beverly Hills part is still there.

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Anonymous said...

While you're certainly right that the nationality of the protagonist doesn't come across anymore, I don't think that means that the paperback treatment isn't working. On the contrary, I picked this up off a B&N paperback table the other day because I thought it was smartly done.

Instead of being a double-fisted visual wham, like the hard cover, the paperback is far more playful and subtle. The tension now is between the imagery and the title. And it's very effective.

The HC could just be a book about a Cuban in Miami. But there is a genuine dislocation in the paperback that makes you 1) understand that something is amiss with the mismatch of the dissident and his/her environment, and 2) wonder what the heck is going on.

Anonymous said...

What's with the strange Hockney homage?

You're right: it doesn't seem to fit the book at all.