Sunday, August 26, 2007

Two Book Covers

Unlike many book-lovers I am not a book fetishist but two book covers which caught my attention recently. Also two books I have read/been reading recently.

First one cuts really close to the bone. From the outside cool and composed as if posing for a photo and from the inside all messed up really bad inside the head.

Second one is a book I am still in the middle of and it doesn't look like as if I will be able to finish reading it soon. It is not very easy to read. More on it later when I am done. For now an article about the book on the occasion of the fiftieth death anniversary of Malcolm Lowry (which was actually last month). Also has this interesting information:

When Under the Volcano appeared some of its thunder was stolen by a novel called The Lost Weekend, which was subsequently filmed with Ray Milland in the leading role. Lowry was profoundly upset by this unfortunate coincidence - his life was ruled by coincidences, both fatal and benevolent - but the two books had little in common. Serving as more than just a warning of the perils of addiction, alcohol abuse in Lowry's book signifies human failure on a cosmic level. The consciousness-changing powers of mescal perform a function that is simultaneously transgressive and illuminating, analogous to the desperate (and doomed) heatings and mixings of the alchemists: "The agonies of the drunkard," wrote Lowry, "find their most accurate poetic analogue in the agonies of the mystic who has abused his powers."

Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend is a devastating portrait of alcoholism, almost Dostoevskian in its willingness to plunge new depths of human misery and indignity. It ends on an optimistic note but only after it has taken you on a terrifying and deeply unsettling tour of moral and spiritual hell. Lowry however makes a very interesting distinction specially with that analogy of the mystic who has abused his powers. It is obvious in the book, alcoholism is just a ruse, as the blurb says it is the "elemental forces" which are intent on destroying the man's soul.

Haven't seen the film but the new criterion DVD looks really cool.


KUBLA KHAN said...

Alok....believe me, i was thinking of writing a post on my all time favourite book covers! and i find your post.....Carl Jung would have called it synchronicity!
your Zeno and mine are different.....have you seen the cover on Hopscotch?( its a killer)
maybe one day we could write a joint post on book covers!

jyothsnay said...

well, going against the fundamental admonition, tut, tut" Never Judge A Book By Its Cover" :)))), I tend to sway with the book with a cover-fortified aptly by high appeal factor, most times, the cover hisses at me,like an intelligent whore (haha, please,forgive me,am with Woody Allen these days)...amidst an organised chaos from the world of books...the first line of a book proves to be more lethal than a's almost like striking up a conversation, a hi..and helplessly falling in love wth a person...the first line,the opening shot throws up many possibilities for an intelligent mind n then the race never looks back...
say,"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice..."
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

....I see the cover of your first book differently..I see an act of mischief by a curious little body, i.e.a child whose irreverence could be a trip down memory lane for the man who posed for the's really a fun to get challenged by a book n its ability to deceive mortals like us..

Jabberwock said...

From the outside cool and composed as if posing for a photo and from the inside all messed up really bad inside the head

You mean you're not the bright, cheery lad that your Orkut photo makes you out to be?! I feel cheated.

Alok said...

kubla: you mean the woman smoking on the green cover that you put on your blog...?

jyothsna: but why will the kid mess up only with the head? the book is about messed-up consciousness too so i thought my interpretation would make sense.

jai: don't tell me you make up your mind about people based on their orkut profile...!

KUBLA KHAN said...


jyothsnay said...

whatever you say Mr Zembla ...there's a fragile murmur of acceptance in the corner, but a poster in my hand "I may not surrender to your reasoning.."

we both always have this healthy debate
a woman's interpretation & conscience Vs a man's ***....the former, you also agree, is long term n more compelling!
I need dear Ant's support here

Vidya said...

Of late all of my book covers resemble that of Zenos' consciousness. And I thought consciousness grew inward [;)]