Depicting THE IMMORTALISTS
March 1, 2018
We aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, though undoubtedly it is something we are all guilty of. The question is – whose job is it to clothe a book in a cover that looks both beautiful and yet also represents successfully the words within? Luckily for us, at TP we have the glorious Yeti Lambregts who works on our covers for us. Here she talks about how she came up with the stunning design for THE IMMORTALISTS.
A few thoughts that go through my head on being given a new project: Panic. Excitement. Sinking my teeth into a brand new shiny manuscript . . . but most of all, how the heck can I pull this one off?
Immediately falling for Chloe’s story, I made notes of any visual descriptions which would sum up things on the cover. Scribbly sketches in my notebook, lists of words picked out from the text gets the beginning of possible ideas underway, making it fractionally less daunting.
There are so many different ways to translate a story onto a cover, what represents the story in the clearest way?
Which route works best for the readership? Which would attract the attention and create a buzz online with our brilliant publicity team?
What would make it stand out against strong competition, be unique and live up to the high expectations given how strong the writing is?
A first attempt was to show a dangerous performance act, a couple hanging onto each other but suggesting that could change in an instant. The cage bars around them, trapped with no escape. What would it be like, to know one’s own fate, years in advance?
It was shown in a cover meeting but it was felt it was better to represent all four siblings depicted in the four sections of the novel, rather than only one.
The Gold siblings grow up in New York, where they go to an iconic (but rundown) block of flats, where the dates of their deaths are prophesied by a fortune teller.
After a few more attempts which didn’t make the cut, we arrived at an interesting solution – given the intriguing and unusual title, generous shoutline, and many wonderful quotes, to turn it into a typographic cover.
Leah, the wonderful editor, and I, got very excited looking at ghost paintings of advertising on sides of old buildings and liked the suggestion of different stories going on with the other windows (inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Rear Window).
Moving from the darkness of the bottom half of the cover, an entrance into this adventure, and getting lighter towards the top of the cover, showing the closely huddled together kids, looking out towards a bright new start to the day.
As the cover unfolds, you see more of the city, the different lives within, the quotes literally being the ‘writing on the wall’.
I recommend The Immortalists enormously – it’s one of the most exceptional stories I’ve ever read.
Yeti Lambregts, March 2018