Cover Story (part two)

The sources of yesterday’s dream (see below) are not all that hard to identify. Different editions have been on my mind – and desk, of late. As this blog post reminds us, there can be a certain pleasure derived from juxtaposing the English and American editions of the same book (or, in some cases, editions from a dozen other countries). Though this is not something that I have ever been able to do with my own books (alas) there are a sprinkling of obscure European novels that have been published on both sides of the Atlantic.

For example, an old acquaintance of mine recently sent me the American edition of Edmund ‘Blumin’ Ek’s debut novel The Incredible Expletive Shock!! I suppose I ought to reproduce it here and allow you to compare it with the English edition (which appears somewhere on this page) but as my camera is, at present, undergoing treatment, I fear that you will have to wait on this one. What I can tell you is that the American edition is much more colourful, to the point of luminous. It may even glow in the dark.

Another book of which I’ve recently seen two versions is Pyetr Turgidovsky’s forthcoming Delicious Air of Life. The American edition is an uninspiring matt black, with pale pink writing. The English edition, meanwhile, contains a photograph which looks distinctly like  a view of Vladivostock, a city close to my heart (so close, sometimes, that it threatens to stop it). This tallies with early reviews of the book, which claim that Turgidovsky’s tale takes on the Eastern seaport’s dark history of chemical pollution, delighting no doubt in each and every miserable statistic. Something to look forward to there.

In other dream-related news, perhaps I ought to offer a riposte to my wife’s theory that last night’s fantasy had something to do with body-based paranoia: the unspoken fear, perhaps, that I might be turning into my unattrative ‘American edition’. To this I say ‘pish’ and/or ‘tosh’. I am not a handsome man, that much is obvious. But I am in the not least anxious over the size of my ears and shape of my nose.


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