…By looking at the cover, sometimes. Artwork on books is increasingly becoming more important, as it can illustrate the contents beautifully. Some are so gorgeous as to be collectible.
One such case is with Angela Carter and her dazzling novel, Nights At The Circus. Her main character, Fevvers, is a stunning, buxom trapeze artist showgirl who may or may not have real feathery wings on her back. Is she real, or just a figure of grand illusion? Jack, the American journalist, is determined to find out.
It’s stuffed full of the usual Carter preoccupations: magic; humour, showbiz, theatre, drama, sex, intrigue and myth -making. Of course, it’s a wonderful book, full of Carter’s voluptuous prose, and these covers all sum it up beautifully. So maybe you can judge a book by the cover, after all.
These covers are works of art, in their own right. The main image is my personal favourite. It’s the sense of vertigo, and the pencil line on her tights.