Jo Walker on the UK Cover

Jo Walker designed the “yellow clouds” cover of the UK edition of A Reunion of Ghosts. Here on the 4th Estate blog my British editor Lettice Franklin asks Jo about her inspiration for both the front and back of the jacket:

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How did you first go about thinking about a cover for A Reunion of Ghosts?   ‘While I was reading the book, I was struck by the description of the gas that Lenz Alter invented. For me, the gas is the origin of the Alter family’s bad luck and I felt that it needed to be the focus of the jacket.’

Did you consider any other designs? ‘Initially, I tried working the sisters faces into the clouds but then decided it over-complicated it, I also tried using the elements on the family tree but again, it just didn’t add anything achartnd felt it needed quite a graphic, simple jacket.’

Tell us about the yellow clouds. ‘On the jacket, the three purple clouds represent the sisters and the main yellow cloud is the past that has a hold over them. An abstract idea I know, and it’s a bit of a leap, but to me it made sense! I’m hoping somebody out there will read the book, turn the jacket over and go ‘oooooh’ (I know this is a lot to hope).’

Tell us about the suicide tree. ‘In the manuscript, Judith put in a chart of who committed suicide, how and when, and I found this immensely useful when I was reading the book. I thought it was such a great idea that I wanted to incorporate it in the jacket somehow. Putting a chart on the back would’ve interfered with the back cover copy so I need something simple that would represent it. The family tree with symbols did this perfectly.’



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