Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Embroidered Cover #2

I don't know if you're all familiar with Persephone Books.  They're the ones that re-published Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, the basis for the movie with Amy Adams and Frances McDormand (which I loved, book and movie).  They publish out of print books by mainly female writers; they're nearly all published with just a plain dove grey cover (their Persephone Classics get an artsy cover).  Everything I've read through them I've loved in one way or another.  Miss Pettigrew was wonderful and light and fun, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Stratchey was wonderful but a bit heart-breaking, and so on.  The one that's stuck with me the most was Manja by Anna Gmeyner, book no. 39.

From their website, "Written in London by a young Austrian playwright in exile, Manja opens, radically, with five conception scenes one night in 1920. Set in the turbulent Germany of the Weimar Republic, it goes on, equally dramatically, to describe the lives of the children and their families until 1933 when the Nazis came to power. 'What is so unusual,' wrote the playwright Berthold Viertel in 1938, 'is the way the novel contrasts the children's community - in all its idealism, romanticism, decency and enchantment - with the madhouse community of the adults.'"  This book is quite long - over 500 pages - but reads so well.  You go between all the children at various points and see how their lives all connect and intersect and how they're all tied together.  It's also amazing in that it was written before World War II started, yet shows the horror of the Nazis already.  It's a beautiful book, but terribly sad too.  I read it in 2010 and still think about it.  I really highly recommend it.

Because of all of this, Manja was the next book I made a cover for for the contest mentioned previously.  I loved doing the cover and since the book has the dove grey cover it left it completely up to me.  This is what I came up with:

"She wanted to leave a sign behind for her friends, when they came here a little while later.  She couldn't find anything suitable.  In the end she took out her scarf and tied it round the birch tree.  It looked sad and stupid.  But she left it."  -p. 520

While it's not a birch tree, I love this tree and loved layering each branch over others.  It was challenging but rewarding.  I love this.  It's perfect for the book.