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Posts Tagged ‘Farrar Straus Giroux’

Designing Denis Johnson’s ‘The Laughing Monsters’ Cover

Denis Johnson's manuscript binder inspired the cover design

Denis Johnson’s manuscript binder inspired the cover design

In the Huffington Post series “Rejected Covers,” Rodrigo Corral–the designer behind a slew of recognizable covers for books by Gary Shteyngart, Chuck Palahniuk and Junot Díaz—shares the creation process behind the cover for Denis Johnson’s new book, The Laughing Monsters.

Johnson, a National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, had created a manuscript cover that served as inspiration. Corral described it:

“His sketch is what I like to think of as three-quarters Basquiat, one-quarter ninth grade geometry class. I love the two joyful skulls–violent and rapturous somehow with their grins and sharpened teeth. Denis also suggested that we take a look at the paintings of Ronald Sloan, an outsider artist who creates macabre, almost Goya-esque paintings. These images were menacing in a lot of ways, but there was almost a childlike regard to that danger, a joy in the face of it.”

The designers experimented with Basquiat’s work and more traditional African imagery for contrast, in the end going with Johnson’s skulls because they captured the duality of humor tinged by death. Gold was used to reference the “get rich quick” aspects of the plot.

Corral told HuffPo, “The final cover is one that I hope conveys just how unsettling this book is and that nothing that transpires is ever black and white. Denis said it best to his editor here: ‘I’m not trying to be Graham Greene. I think I actually am Graham Greene.’”

 

The final cover design for "The Laughing Monsters"

The final cover design for “The Laughing Monsters”

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In the Recording Studio with Roy Blount, Jr.

When I got to the recording studio just off Times Square where Roy Blount, Jr. was recording an abridged audiobook edition of his forthcoming Alphabet Juice (due in October from FSG and Macmillan Audio) yesterday afternoon, he’d just finished up lunch and had already gone back into the soundproof booth. His publicist explained that he’d just wrapped up one interview, and they still had a day-and-a-half’s worth of material to record, so a chat wasn’t in the cards, but they did let me bring out my digital video camera while he went over the book’s opening pages, which explain why pigs go “oink,” except when they don’t…

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