The Other: Good Cover, Bad Cover

A tweet from @sarahw alerted me to the news that The Other, Thomas Tyron’s fetching 1971 thriller about a good twin named Niles and a bad twin named Holland has been rediscovered and republished by the New York Review of Books with a new introduction by Dan Chaon.

Tyron’s book is a rewarding read … but I couldn’t help noticing the marked difference in book cover styles represented by the original paperback cover that I remember so well and the new NYRB version. Strangely, even though I see that the new cover (above, right) attempts to be more artful and evocative than the old (above, left), it actually feels less effective and more conventional. Or are my fond memories of an old favorite book clouding my mind? Have book cover designs gotten better or worse since the 1970s? Good twin, bad twin, good cover, bad cover …

4 Responses

  1. I much prefer the new Tryon
    I much prefer the new Tryon cover, except for the text block in the center, which looks like an afterthought (“Oh, yeah, we do have to put the title on the cover somewhere.”). But generally I think you’re right. Covers in the past had more individual character. Now they are mostly variations on a small handful of visual themes.

  2. As you may know, Tom Tryon
    As you may know, Tom Tryon was an actor before he became a writer, appearing in such the classic B movie “I Married a Monster From Outer Space” (1958) and Walt Disney’s “Moon Pilot” (1962).

  3. Cover shmover. This is one of
    Cover shmover. This is one of my all-time favorite terrifying reads AND films. Glad it’ll be re-issued — I might have to give it a revisit.

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