Saturday, 16 May 2009

So Pretty!

Always late for the bandwagon, that's me. At the end of last year, Roberto Bolaño's posthumously published 2666 was released in its English translation, and started gathering rapturous reviews by the wheelbarrow-load.

2666 itself is made up of five shorter books, and there is some contention about how it was meant to be publised. Bolaño knew he was dying as he wrote it, and as a way of ensuring some financial security for his family, he wanted the five books published separately, one per year. His family, on the other hand, felt that the five together made one cohesive whole, and decided to have it published as a single work.

In the US and the UK it was released as a big, fat hardback. This is as you might expect. However, the US publishers (Farrar, Straus & Giroux (FSG)) also decided to produced an edition in a different form: three separate paperbacks in a box. The first paperback contains the three shorter, novella-length books, while the two other paperbacks each contain one of the longer books.

This boxed set, designed by Charlotte Strick, was so handsome and so nicely done that it quickly sold out, and people like me who'd waited a bit before deciding to buy 2666 were left empty-handed. But now a second printing has been produced, and I finally got my hands on one. So here it is! Click for bigger versions.








Here's the panel from the bottom of the box with the details of the illustration elements.



For comparison, here are the US and UK hardcovers.




And finally, some other attractive Charlotte Strick book designs.





7 comments:

Kevin Arthur said...

I too love that box set design. I pre-ordered it because I just had to have it, though I have not yet gotten around to reading it... or the other two Bolano books on the shelf. Someday...

JRSM said...

I know the feeling. I HAD to have this, but am now intimidated by 900 pages of tiny text.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

yeah, Charlott's work is terrific through and through.

Tulkinghorn said...

Fear not.... The first volume, at least, is completely readable, charming, and funny. The second volume is pretty grueling; the third reads like a post-war German novel.

I'm told that in certain circles, like on the West Side subway in Manhattan, carrying the second or third volume was high status.

Only poseurs carried the first.

JRSM said...

That's hilarious! I've started it now, but still on volume one: not at all what I expected (though I'm not sure what I DID expect), but really good nonetheless.

Vintage Reading said...

I love that Empress of Weehawken cover. I've heard it's a pretty good read, too.

JRSM said...

Yes, another one I have to add to the huge list.