On Saturday, March 2, 2013, New York Times bestselling author and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Jonathan Lethem joined Sean Manning, editor of the blog Talking Covers, at The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles for an in-depth discussion of his book covers.
The event featured video comments from designers Amy C. King, Marc Cozza and Rebecca Cohen, and Miriam Rosenbloom as well as the unveiling of the cover for Lethem’s forthcoming novel Dissident Gardens, to be published by Doubleday in September. Here, audio and video corresponding to each of the covers discussed.
Gun, with Occasional Music (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1994)
Amnesia Moon (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995)
The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye (Harcourt Brace & Company, 1996)
As She Climbed Across the Table (Doubleday, 1997)
Girl In Landscape (Doubleday, 1998)
Motherless Brooklyn (Doubleday, 1999)
Kafka Americana (Subterranean Press, 1999; W.W. Norton & Company, 2001)
This Shape We’re In (McSweeney’s, 2000)
The Fortress of Solitude (Doubleday, 2003)
Men and Cartoons (Doubleday, 2004)
The Disappointment Artist (Doubleday, 2005)
The Fortress of Solitude (Vintage Contemporaries, 2004)
The design and publishing problem we had was how to package a book that was the follow-up to a very successful novel by the same author: Motherless Brooklyn. So we took the broad view and presented this book as the story of someone growing up in Brooklyn during a particular time period. There were a lot of interesting things going on in the book but whenever I would go too far in a particular direction, I felt it was ignoring other potential readers.
I do not think of this cover as particularly groundbreaking design, but I think it was a successful publishing solution. I also like to combine things that don’t necessarily go together. In this case, row houses and colorful, drop shadow-y, 70s type.
—John Gall, designer
You Don’t Love Me Yet (Doubleday, 2007)
Chronic City (Doubleday, 2009)
Chronic City (Faber and Faber, 2009)
The Left-Handed Woman by Peter Handke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1978)
The Desperate Hours by Joseph Hayes (Random House, 1954)
Dissident Gardens (2013, Doubleday)
(Special thanks to Bianca Barragan for organizing the event.)