Friday Faceoff – If I be waspish, best beware my sting…


This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week the theme is insects, so I’ve chosen Lord of the Flies by William Golding.


This is the cover produced by Penguin in 1999 for their series ‘Great books of the century’. I rather like it. The shading of the background works really well, with the island of marooned boys and insects and the fringe of yellow sand around the author’s name. The main aspect that jars with me is the complete mismatch in style between the title font and author name.


This edition, first produced in 1980 by Perigree, is the outstanding cover – thank you to Sara Letourneau for spotting my dating for this cover wasn’t correct. It shows one of the boys staring out at us with some leaves twined in his hair – probably Jack – as flies swarm on some fruit in the foreground. It is arresting, colourful and oddly disturbing without resorting to some of the odd imagery of some of the other efforts. This is my favourite.


Published in 2010 by Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınlarıin, this Turkish cover is also effective. Its simplicity is part of its strength as the boys are depicted in outline as the savage warriors some of them yearn to become. I love the fact that we can see the background through their silhouettes.


Produced in August 2011 by Faber Faber, this cover has also reprised the tribal feel with with far more emphasis. The line drawing of the island apparently swallowing one of boys who is wearing glasses is disturbing and oddly compelling. The font used in both the title and author name is effective and appropriate.


This Vietnamese edition distributed by Tsai Fong Books in October 2006 has Piggy featured with a huge fly looming over him and the jungle in the background. The single image of his broken glasses adds to the innate menace. My grizzle is the image of Piggy is too static and awkward, which is a shame because if that figure had looked more dynamic, the cover would immediately spring to life, I think. Which is your favourite?

17 responses »

  1. I have to go with the Pedigree cover, too. Not only is it my favorite, but it’s also the one I read when I was in high school…. which confuses me actually, because I graduated from high school in 2003. So you might want to double-check the year that particular edition was published, Sarah. I dug around a little bit, and it looks like the first year that cover surfaced (including the “10 million copies in print” statement) was around 1980. (It does appear that they re-used it for later reissues, though.)

    • Ah… thank you Sara! I’ll go back and correct that date:). Yes – this was one I came across when my children studied at school, though I was a tad surprised and shaken at the violence… My favourite book of his is Rites of Passage, which blew me away – I dreamt of that one.

  2. Tough choices this week! I admit that the first cover would be killer if they had a consistent font. I actually am rather taken with the 4th cover. There’s a level of horror to this story that this cover emotes (right word, I think?) more than anything…

  3. I never read Lord of the Flies in school, and I’m not usually a classics fan, but this is one I would like to read. I’ve heard a lot of interesting things about it. I like the second cover and the Faber Faber one. They’re both eye-catching and compelling and seem like they might fit with the book well.

    • The film of this one is very strong, isn’t it? I recall reading an interview where Golding was talking about the time he took a school trip to a ruined castle – he was a teacher – and watched the children charging along the dried moat and got the idea for the book…

  4. I like the first one, but if I was to pick my favorite, it would be the one by Faber Faber. It feels the most “thought-through” compared to the others.

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