This month we’re celebrating our illustrated books, with our ‘Picture Perfect‘ theme. So the timing of this cover reveal couldn’t be better – feast your eyes on the beautiful pages of Michael Cunningham’s dark and perverse collection of fairytales A Wild Swan and Other Tales, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu.
Both the cover and inside cover of the book hint at the dark, dreamy tales within, Shimizu’s feathery black-and-white etchings atmospherically setting the tone.
The title pages, too, whirl with wings and feathers, the artwork reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley’s fantastical illustrations for Oscar Wilde.
Shimizu’s illustrations are given due prominence in the text, as much a part of the stories as Cunningham’s words. In A Wild Swan and Other Tales, the people and the talismans of lands far, far away – the mythic figures of our childhoods and the source of so much of our wonder – are transformed by Cunningham and Shimizu into stories of sublime revelation.
Sometimes Cunningham’s words disappear from the page entirely, Shimizu’s illustrations insisting upon the full panoramic grandeur of a double-page spread, as with the castle vista below.
With all the dazzling sumptuousness of the illustrations inside the book, it’s easy to miss the subtler details of the design, like the embossed outline of a swan spreading its wings across the front and back covers.
A Wild Swan and Other Tales is published by 4th Estate on 19th November 2015.
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