LOUISE PENNY’S

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Gamache Goes Abroad: A Better Man

Gamache’s last trip before the publication of All the Devils Are Here takes him just across the pond, to visit the UK edition. As we’re sure you’ve noticed, the jackets, at first glance, look exactly the same — which is a rare example of the foreign and domestic publisher agreeing on a design that suits both the novel and the reading audience in both countries. 

There is one slight difference between the two: the UK publisher chose to add a quote to the cover, which is common practice in that country. Here, they feature a very complimentary quote by Denise Mina: “One of the greatest writers of our times.” Do quotes like these ever influence your decision to buy a book?

As this is our last visit abroad with Gamache, we’d like to thank you for traveling with us over the past few months. We hope to see you all in Paris next week with the release of All the Devils Are Here on September 1st!

 

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Gamache Goes Abroad: Kingdom of the Blind

Buongiorno! This week, we find Gamache in Italy with the covers of Kingdom of the Blind. What strikes us about the Italian edition of the book is their literal interpretation of one of the opening scenes in the book, in which Gamache arrives at an abandoned farmhouse in a snowstorm. [Note from Paul Hochman: Who would have thought he’d drive a Jeep?] 

Also striking about the Italian jacket is the illustration, which we’ve yet to see from any of the other international editions. Is their illustration of Gamache how you’d picture him? 

In contrast, our US jacket takes a more abstract approach, while still evoking a wintry scene. It’s not hard to imagine that the icicles shown on the US jacket might be on a window, drawing similarities between our version and the Italian version. 

What do you think? Which jacket do you prefer? 

The illustration on the Italian jacket brings to mind a few other illustrated book covers. Does it remind you of any other covers in particular?

 

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Gamache Goes Abroad: Glass Houses

This is the second time Gamache visits Germany (see the June 9th post on A Rule Against Murder for his first visit). Interestingly, our German colleagues chose the title of Hinter den drei Kiefern, which translates to “Behind the Three Pines”, instead of the German translation of Glass Houses. 

When we discussed A Rule Against Murder, we talked about the Germans’ decision to portray red leaves on the cover, which, as you readers have pointed out, is a clear reference to the Canadian setting of the series. Thanks to the keen eye of readers Marge H. and Leone S., we learned that the image depicted on the German cover for A Rule Against Murder was in fact the Prince of Wales Hotel, which is located in Waterton National Park in Southern Alberta. 

The imagery on the cover for Glass Houses is similarly evocative of a Canadian landscape, depicting a farmhouse located on a lake. In contrast, our US edition is much more austere. While the image is ice, not glass, the cover evokes imagery commonly associated with glass: jagged and shattered. 

Does anyone know where the image on the cover for Hinter den drei Kiefern is located? 
A lot of you preferred the German edition of A Rule Against Murder to the US edition. Do you feel similarly about the German edition of Glass Houses? Which do you think best encapsulates the story?

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Gamache Goes Abroad: A Great Reckoning

This week’s installment of “Gamache Goes Abroad” leads us across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom for A Great Reckoning — which is perfect, because the title comes from William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It.” 

Both jackets depict a group of trees — a theme we’ve seen throughout the series — but what stands out with these two is the sky. The UK version highlights a dark, cloudy sky punctuated by a group of crows (referred to as “a murder”), perhaps alluding to the secrets hidden inside the Surete Academy when Gamache arrives. The US version, conversely, focuses on a night sky filled with stars, which could symbolize Gamache’s bright influence on the school. 

As we look at the US cover and think about the Shakespearean influence on the book’s title, the phrase “star-crossed” comes to mind, which speaks to the theme of destiny, a major component of the book. 

What examples of destiny are evident in A Great Reckoning? 

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Gamache Goes Abroad: The Nature of the Beast

This week, we travel to Gamache’s own stomping grounds as we visit the French Canadian cover of The Nature of the Beast. The first thing we noticed about both the French Canadian cover and our own is the inherent darkness, which reflects Ruth Zardo’s thoughts in this book: that “And now it is now. And the dark thing is here.”

Upon closer inspection, it appears that the two jackets are the inverse of one another. While both depict a dark forest, the American edition shows a group of trees surrounding a space of black emptiness. The French Canadian version, however, shows the opposite: a sunlight group of trees surrounded by darkness on the edges. For those of us who have read the book (no spoilers, please!), we know the significance that the darkness of the forest has on the plot of the book. And both covers certainly convey that ominousness. 

Which do you prefer? 

How else could you convey “the dark thing” in a cover design?

 

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Gamache Goes Abroad: The Long Way Home

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?

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Gamache Goes Abroad: How the Light Gets In

There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen

This quote first appeared in A Fatal Grace, then inspired the title of Louise’s ninth book, and clearly guides a recurring theme throughout the Three Pines canon. In examining this week’s international edition, from Slovakia, we were struck by the differences in how we both interpreted this quote. 

Our Slovakian colleagues chose to focus on the first part of the stanza — There’s a crack in everything — with imagery suggesting a crack in the floor. They split the quote even further by actually dividing the cover into two parts. 

It would appear that our jacket designer focused instead on the second part of Leonard Cohen’s quote: That’s how the light gets in. On our cover, the light filters through the spaces between the trees to illuminate the snow on the ground.

By each focusing on one side of the quote, somehow both publishers managed to illustrate the symbolism of separation. 

For more on Leonard Cohen’s influence on Louise, click here

What does this quote, in the context of Louise’s work, mean to you? 

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Gamache Goes Abroad: The Beautiful Mystery

We find ourselves back in Sweden this week with the cover of The Beautiful Mystery. Of the many foreign covers we’ve explored so far, the Swedish edition is the closest we’ve seen to almost matching ours. In previous posts, we’ve talked about the use of light as a powerful symbol, but these two covers put that idea in the forefront. 

In The Beautiful Mystery, Chief Inspector Gamache travels to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups, to investigate the death of a renowned choir director. Tucked into the wilderness, the monastery is a beacon of peace and reflection in the dark woods. The light shining through the trees on both jackets might also symbolize the illumination and discovery resulting from Gamache’s investigation. 

Does the Agatha and Anthony Award callout on the top of the Swedish jacket bring a movie poster to mind? What actor would you pick to play Gamache? 

For more information on the real place that inspired the monastery in The Beautiful Mystery, click here. 

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Gamache Goes Abroad: A Trick of the Light

Today, we find Gamache in Spain, with the Spanish edition of A Trick of the Light, or El juego de la luz. Both covers play off the novel’s use of shadow and light to illustrate the suspense of the story. In both covers, the light filters through a tree’s dark branches, suggesting the juxtaposition between good and evil. 

Note that in the Spanish edition, only half of the cottage’s windows are illuminated. This again might fortify the notion that there are two sides to every story. While the Spanish edition features a landscape of the cottage and its surroundings, our version zeroes in on a tree with very few leaves. Only when the branches are exposed can the light truly shine through. 

The juxtaposition between darkness and light is a recurring theme in the Louise Penny canon. Which other books in the series come to mind when you consider this theme? 

The plot of this book heavily features Clara’s artwork. If you were to design a cover for this book featuring her artwork, what would it look like to you?

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Gamache Goes Abroad: Bury Your Dead

This week, Gamache heads to the Far East with the Chinese edition of Bury Your Dead. At first glance, the covers look wildly different: the Chinese version features a wreath of flowers on a black background, while the original US edition shows leaves falling onto white snow. But a closer inspection reveals similar symbolism. Both covers employ the use of a blurred effect, which could allude to the blurred lines between fact and fiction as Gamache investigates his latest case. 

And both covers portray foliage, in various states of decay. Perhaps a nod to the title of the book itself?

Just as foreign publishers will design new jackets for a book in their market, sometimes we’ll create an alternate look for different US editions as well. Take a look at our mass market edition of Bury Your Dead. Of the three, which do you prefer? What similarities do you see between the two US editions? What differences? 

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