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?

Discussion on “Gamache Goes Abroad – A Trick of the Light

  1. Betsy says:

    I’m with Patti, too much text on the US version….otherwise I might prefer its image. As published, I prefer the Spanish version for most of the reasons others have given….And I LOVE that you are offering these comparisons!

  2. Maureen Miller says:

    The swirling deep blue cover with the moon providing the light brings high interest to me immediately. In contrast, the other cover brings to mind terror and fear. When I read the Gamache series, I rationally understand I’ll encounter and feel strong terror and fear. However, I’ll manage to get through that because I’ve been taught by Louise and Armand that goodness abides. Thank you Louise for this desperately needed message for our world. ☮️

  3. Karen Larmon says:

    The US cover is more sophisticated and the artwork is extremely better than the Spanish version. The Spanish version seems so blah and with the exception of the darkness behind the cottage it looks like a typical British cottage 1950 mystery book. Because there is always something deeper in Louise Penny’s books than just the mystery to solve of it, like conflicts in the lives of the characters, the Spanish simplicity just doesn’t do it for me and and it not representative of the overall complexities of the characters and the mysteries themselves. Going through the jagged tree limbs to the light is much more complex than just looking at a suggestive house that might look like one in Three Pines.

  4. Marcia Clark says:

    The moon on the American cover made me think of the spot of light, the hope, in the eye in Clara’s painting of Ruth as the Madonna. A full moon always seems hopeful to me being the most light we can ever get in darkness.

  5. Carole Carraro says:

    I prefer the American covers…not only for this book but also the others. I enjoy the subtlety of the US covers…they are not a stark, set pictures. They are softer to look at, yet have an air of mystery…”un sous-entendu”.

  6. Joseph D. Aiguier says:

    It would not fit the general appearance of all the series’ book jackets (at least, not the U.S. ones), but I’d have tried a cover image that looks past the back of a canvas, still on its easel, toward a half-open studio window. Moonlight comes through the window, picking out an overturned work table and spilled paints, brushes, pallet and liquids on the floor of the dark-shadowed room.

  7. Caryn Stardancer says:

    I prefer the Spanish cover in this instance. Although I deeply appreciate Louise Penny’s artistry in evoking the nuances of ethics, morality and psychology in her complex interplay of characters, to me her evocation of setting is what anchors me into the stories. The Spanish cover includes both aspects, and draws me more through the implication of humanity, tinged with a hint of potential dark foreboding. Whereas the other cover is beautiful and symbolically nuanced, it is “colder,” with no social context. Without the deeply rendered relationships and community these books share, I would not be as avid in my fandom.

  8. MRussell says:

    I prefer the US cover – more evocative of her life work. The Spanish cover is just a bit too mundane, I think, for a Louise Penny story. I do agree with Patti that the text detracts from the cover. A cover based on Clara’s artwork: Ruth, of course.

  9. Linda says:

    This time, no excuses, I really, really prefer the beautiful blue cover. An English-language version. And all the illumination in this cover image comes from *reflected* light. Appropriate and symbolic.

  10. Denise says:

    If I were to design a cover…. at first I thought of the portrait of Ruth as Mary but then I realized what I would envision as Ruth is individualized by my past interpretations of a bitter elder woman. Then I thought about the white dot – in her eye. The light of hope and might think about a picture/sketch like Peter’s art work – an up close picture of a pupil with The tiny speck of hope with something everyone could interpret as hope for themselves.

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