Jeet Thayil is a journalist and poet. HIs first novel, Narcopolis, begins in an opium den in 1970s Bombay (now Mumbai). It's a fascinating story set in Bombay's underworld, from an author who saw it from the inside.
So how to create that cover? Here's Jeet to tell the story:
"There are a couple of my own line drawings in Narcopolis, so my idea for the cover was to have something similar. One of Faber’s earlier suggestions for the UK cover was a line drawing, but then Jimmie Zombie came up with the current one, and that, as they say, was that. The US cover is a different animal altogether, typographic, very striking. I said yes as soon as I saw it.
"Narcopolis is a first novel. I’d been living with it in my head for about five years. My first thought on seeing the cover was relief that the labor was finished and the book was on its way.
"The image of Radha and Krishna, which was the original cover, became part of the typography, and I think that is the most striking aspect of the cover.
"No model, no still life; it's a stock ‘Indian’ image transformed into art by excellent design. The word NARCOPOLIS against a stark black background gives the cover an element of drama and grandeur. I get the sense of a cityscape, the way the title rises against the dark sky of the background, and the psychedelic texture of the letters: it’s very effective, the kind of cover you can live with for many years."
Thank you, Jeet! The new paperback cover is here now, too, left. I think both of them are striking.
What do you guys think?
Melissa Walker is the author of six Young Adult novels, including the Violet trilogy, Lovestruck Summer, Small Town Sinners and the upcoming Unbreak My Heart (pictured). She is co-creator of the popular teen newsletter I Heart Daily and the awkward-stage blog Before You Were Hot, as well as the blogger for readergirlz.com. Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com. Follow her on Twitter @melissacwalker.