Friday Faceoff – Lucy in the sky with diamonds…


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 featuring a psychedelic cover, so I’ve gone with Life of Pi by Yann Martel. To be honest, I’m not sure if these covers are particularly psychedelic – but I love the swirling patterns, so went for them anyway.


This cover, produced by Penguin Random House in 2011, is my favourite. I just love the clever use of pattern with the dark blue and black swirls – and it wasn’t until I looked a bit more closely, I realised the detail of the boy represented the tiger’s eye. I am also delighted the publisher chose not to smother the clever, classy design with a load of blurb.


This French edition was produced by Gallimard Education in November 2009. I would like the swirling tiger stripes far more if there wasn’t that great big ugly blue block bang in the middle of the cover sporting a very boring font for both title and author. That blue strip is at least twice the size necessary and I’m trying hard to think of any reason why anyone would think it is anything other than scabrous blot on an otherwise attractive design.


Published in May 2003 by Canongate Books, this is one of the most popular cover designs for the book and rightly so. You might not think that is a big deal, but there are dozens of different covers for this book – I was spoilt for choice. I happen to like this one very much. Not only is it eye-catching and attractive, it very deftly sums up the plight of the main character in a startlingly effective way.


Produced in November 2012 by Canongate, I’m guessing this is the cover of the film. That said, it is both striking and attractive while managing to keep spurious details about the film to the bare minimum. If there weren’t other such strong contenders, this one would be in the running.


This offering, published in May 2004 by Mariner Books/Harvest Books, is another lovely cover with that fabulous sky and seascape featuring the boat. I very much like the subtle detailing around the edge and again, I appreciate the economy of the title and author fronts. All in all, while I may not have hit the brief with sufficient psychedelia, I think this week I have a series of rather lovely covers. Which is your favourite?

36 responses »

    • Oh thank you Tammy – I thought some of the others this week had chosen far stronger books. To my shame I haven’t yet read this one – though I clearly ought to!

  1. I do like your choice a lot, but I have to give it to Canongate; I’m just drawn to that art style. The one I really wanted to like was Mariner. I think art itself is stunning, but I they went wrong with the font style for the Title, or something…. they art and font don’t feel like they match?

  2. I’ve actually never read or seen this! Shocking. But I really really love the Canongate 2003 cover. Beautiful style and not at all over the top… such a good composition! 😀

  3. These are gorgeous. I love the subtle tiger in the top offering, but the 2003 edition with the view from above is striking, and I like the stylized look of it. Tough choice! I have to confess- I saw the movie but didn’t read the book (I almost NEVER do that.) Do you know, was the film pretty faithful to the book?

    • Sorry if I missed a firm favourite – I went with versions that showed a pattern and I had no idea until I opened this one up in Goodreads just how many covers there are for this book. Glad that you at least liked the last one:)

  4. I had the 2003 version, so maybe that’s why I’m partial to it. The first one is pretty good too. I loved that book, and loved the movie even more. I went with some friends from my book club, and it was the first time I experienced a 3D movie since we used to wear the paper red and green glasses in the theater back in the late 50’s. The movie, and especially the special effects, blew me away!

    • I haven’t read the book for this one – but I know that I found the film amazing – the sequence taken at night with everything glowing around them was probably one of the most visually beautiful things I’ve ever seen on a screen and I know I’ve dreamt about it since… It must have been magical in 3D:)

      • I think that’s true of a small handful where our emotions are engaged. But all those action blockbusters where everything is see-sawing all over the place with lots of fire and explosions – nope, I’m just watching those… with my fingers in my ears.

  5. I haven’t read this one though of course I’ve seen it around. I think I’ve mostly seen either the movie tie in cover or the overhead shot neither of which I’m a big fan of. I love that first cover and the last one is beautiful as well. Maybe I need to reconsider reading this one.

  6. I loved this book and had no idea it had so many stunning covers. It’s hard to pick a favorite because I actually like them all, maybe with the exception of the second one (I’m not a fan of that blue box either). I’m partial to the one I own, which is the third one, but the first one with the tiger eye is striking too, as is the movie cover with the beautiful tiger on the front. I would pick up either of those if I saw them at the bookstore.

  7. I think I prefer the last two ones. They look great and I like the picture of that tiger and the boy on that boat. Although it’s also nice how the other covers are a bit more abstract.

  8. Save for the movie and tiger print covers, the others really took some lovely approaches with color, didn’t they? I love the move to always keep the tiger at the forefront, the color standing out, while the boy is always found on the second blink, always in the background. I think this is the first time where I really can’t decide between covers, since each utilize the tiger and colors so uniquely and so successfully. Impossible to choose! 😀

  9. I haven’t read this although I have seen the film – so I probably won’t read it now. I love the first and the last covers and don’t think I could choose between them.
    Lynn 😀

  10. The first one and the last one catch my eye the most. The last one because it’s, well, simply pretty, and the first one, because it’s so inventive and at the same time – masterfully executed.

  11. They are both wonderful, aren’t they? I particularly enjoyed putting together these sets of covers as I think those two are outstanding… Have you read the book, Joanna?

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