Today Judith Claire Mitchell’s A Reunion of Ghosts is published in paperback, with a new peach-and-purple colour scheme. Here, Judith’s editor Lettice Franklin explains the meaning behind this striking cover design.
‘The hardback of A Reunion of Ghosts was papered with yellow and purple clouds. Jo Walker, the designer of that jacket, meant ‘the three purple clouds [to] represent the sisters and the main yellow cloud is the past that has a hold over them’. The result was so lovely I wanted to paper my bedroom in it.
We wanted to do something different for the paperback – something photographic – but when I went through the novel again, I found myself repeatedly stopped in my tracks by Mitchell’s heart-rending descriptions of skies, open windows and gases.
A character enters ‘the Dead and Dying Room’, to find ‘something terribly wrong has occurred’ and the window is open. Lenz Alter, as a child, sees ‘an inky slash between earth and sky … a ribbon of indigo’. The sisters symbolise their desire to kill themselves with a ‘horizontal light … the light that sometimes replaces sunlight, the light we see for a brief moment virtually every day’. They see sunsets that are beautiful ‘in the way poisons sometimes are … dangerous and gorgeous colours’. And then – of course – there are the horrific, lethal ‘yellow-grey fumes’ of poison gas that infiltrate every day of the sisters’ lives and every page of this novel.
The cover’s designer, Becky Morrison, bottled all those ‘dangerous and gorgeous’ colours to create a cover that is simultaneously beautiful and disturbing – a cover that is perfect for a novel that is simultaneously heart-breaking, hilarious, tragic and uplifting.’
A Reunion of Ghosts by Judith Claire Mitchell is published today.
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