Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Peter Carey and the Paper Pubes

(Sorry about the title, but I couldn't resist.)

A couple of posts ago, I showed a couple of Australian designer Jenny Grigg's covers for Vintage Classics Australia. I first became aware of her work when she redesigned the Peter Carey backlist for his original Australian publisher, the University of Queensland Press, using lovely woodblocky letters and textures.



Unusually, when Carey jumped ship to Random House, the same designer was asked to redesign all of his works, which she did using what look like layers of folded and crumpled paper (hence the paper pubes on Illywhacker).



Carey's an unusual writer in that he seems to be held in much higher esteem overseas than he is here in Australia. Part of this is the standard (and sometimes unthinking and automatic) irritation Australians have with those who move overseas but keep pronouncing on Australia and its problems (see Germain Greer, Clive James, etc). But part of it must be that for every genuinely great book he writes (like Oscar and Lucinda or True History of the Kelly Gang) he produces a tedious dud (Theft, His Illegal Self, etc) that plays literary games that weren't worth the playing in the first place.

From one somewhat overrated author to another: Grigg has also produced a series of gorgeous covers for the Danish Linghardt og Ringhof editions of Ernest Hemingway's work. These, unusally, put the major graphic elements on the back covers, leaving the fronts bare of all but a little type.



Absolutely gorgeous.

2 comments:

Ian Shimkoviak said...

stunning stuff. I've seen many of these before, but that first batch of typographic covers is really something... to own and behold.

John Self said...

These are all utterly fantastic. For the first time I'd rather have Australian editions than UK ones!