Monday, 7 April 2008
Joseph Heller is one of those writers whose first novel is so good and so effective at worming its way into people's minds that they never manage to top it. Certainly everything else he produced has seemed somewhat disappointing in comparison. It's also a book with an interesting set of covers. The one to the left is the edition I have, a typical-for-its-time painted cover on a Corgi paperback. I'd like it more if it didn't look as though he was shouting, "Ste-lla!"
The original Simon & Schuster US edition looked like this...
..a look which has been retained for the current US paperback and commemorative hardbacks. It's quite unusual for old book covers to be revived like this, but it's nice when the original is a simple, effective bit of graphic design.
Here are a couple of other old paperback versions--the first is another Corgi edition, while I can't find the publisher of the second. They're not bad, either.
On the other hand, the UK/Commonwealth editions in recent years have been a bit so-so. They're perfectly adequate at communicating the fact that the books are about an air force in war-time, but don't really get across the fact that there's any humour or satirical intent.
Now, though, the UK version's getting another redesign. I don't know who's responsible for this version of the cover, but now you're talking.