The Long Way Home takes us all the way to Romania this week as we examine two different jacket approaches for Louise’s tenth novel.
The Romanian jacket designer took a very literal approach to the plot of the book, depicting a man, who we would assume is Peter, walking away towards the banks of the St. Lawrence.
Our version takes a more symbolic approach. Here is designer David Rotstein, in his own words:
The image is by Clarence Gagnon entitled Evening on the North Shore. The painting is from 1924, just before Gagnon left his home on the banks of the St. Lawrence to live in Paris, ‘a long way from home’. Some people don’t immediately see that the image as an upside-down landscape, and only see an abstraction. The back of the jacket shows the painting right side up, helping the viewer realize that it’s one image shown two different ways. Those who do immediately see the front cover as being upside down are likely to interpret the visual as suggesting that things have gone awry, or are not what they seem . . . a home turned upside down. While I don’t intend for people to necessarily notice this one final thing, the inspiration came from the passage in the book when Clara realizes that they have been looking at the painting upside down. I loved Louise’s lines about rotating the painting, and seeing how “day became night…sky became water…smiles became frowns…laughter became sorrow.”
Lastly, the jacket was printed on a textured paper stock which has the appearance and tactile feel of real painter’s canvas. It’s a very unusual surface for a book jacket, and gives the book a very special feel.
When you first saw the US cover for The Long Way Home, did you notice that the image was upside down?
In general, do you prefer jacket treatments that are more literal or more metaphorical?