Now is probably as good a time as any to talk about a new collaborative project I’m undertaking with six other bloggers. We’re calling it BookerMarks, and we’re going to shadow this year’s Man Booker Award proceedings by reading the longlisted titles in an attempt to predict our own short list and finally our top pick for the prize. John Banville’s name has come up several times as a potential candidate for this year’s longlist. I haven’t read his latest offering Ancient Light. I hadn’t even seen the cover of the novel until today, but when I did though I quickly realized that I had seen it before. Andrew Winer anyone?
Back in May I gushed about my love for Winer’s beautiful novel The Marriage Artist saying:
These two different, yet equally complex story lines eventually merge in a dazzling display of stunning proportions that serve to showcase a master novelist at work. Andrew Winer delivers by way of The Marriage Artist a hauntingly realistic tale of love and loss that crosses generations, continents, languages, and beliefs. It’s a tale that begins with death, but repurposes that ending as a tool that hints at rebirth and purpose. Above all though, it’s identity that takes center stage.
It appears that the same photograph was used for both covers. Is this a common practice? Is the picture in question perhaps part of a large stock photography library? I don’t have any of the answers. What I do know is that The Marriage Artist was published by Henry Holt & Company in both the UK and the US (with identical covers) and Ancient Light was published by Viking in the UK with the cover featured above and will be published by Knopf in the US on October 2nd with a completely different cover.
If anyone out there has the details behind this particularly moving photograph and how it found its way on to the front of two different novels I’d love to hear the back story. In the meantime, I can’t recommend Winer’s novel enough, and I’m looking forward to Banville’s novel as well when it finally becomes available in the states.
UPDATE: Apparently this sort of thing happens quite often. The fine folks at Henry Holt & Company pointed me at this New York Times article from 2005 which was rather eye opening: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/books/07cove.html?_r=1
UPDATE 2: Special thanks to super sleuth Karli over at Hooked Bookworm (who is also part of the BookerMarks project) who pointed out that this same image was also used on the cover of Mark Knopfler’s 2002 album The Ragpicker’s Dream:
Her detective work also uncovered that the photo was taken byh Elliott Erwitt and is entitled “Robert and Mary Frank, Valencia, Spain 1952.” Magnum appears to hold the copyright for the image and it appears in their catalog here.