Friday Faceoff – Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceoffautumncovers


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 meme is currently being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and the subject this week featuring on any of our covers is AUTUMN. I’ve selected The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, which I absolutely loved.


This edition was produced by Random House in June 2010 and is an extraordinary design. The Japanese landscape is depicted in bold bright colours and for once, I cannot quarrel with the treatment of the font, which has been given a 3-D effect – I suspect so that it resembles those boxed Japanese landscapes you often see depicted in ivory. I love this – it’s quirky and different, yet beautiful, just like the book. This one is my favourite.


Published in March 2011 by Sceptre, this edition is another lovely effort, though completely different from the previous cover. The Japanese woman, half turned towards the reader, offering an apple, is both eye-catching and appealing. I love the way the apple contrasts with the muted blue of the kimono and background. The fact they are the same shade shouldn’t really work – but I think they do. And the font lettering is also beautiful. I may be influenced, because this is the cover of the book I owned, signed by David Mitchell. While I don’t love it quite as much as the previous offering, I still find it very appealing.


This Serbian edition, published by Laguna in 2013, goes back to the Japanese landscape for inspiration. Another lovely rendition – I do like the shadow effect of the leaves around the sky. And this one is clearly depicting the Japanese trade delegation on the island of Dejima watching the foreigners approach in their boats, so I appreciate the fact it relates directly to the story. Another attractive, well crafted cover.


It wasn’t until I saw this Croatian edition, published by Vuković&Runjić in 2014, that I realised how relatively rarely pouring rain features in a landscape. And here it’s coming down in stair rods – that chilly, miserable soaking stuff that drills right through to your bones so that you feel you’ll never be dry or warm again… Again, I also love the treatment of the font – this was so very nearly my favourite.


This Thorndike Press edition, published in January 2011, is another gorgeous affair. This is again, a typically Oriental setting with the beautiful fire-red acer trees blazing out amongst the sculpted order of the Japanese garden, with the classic bridge over a stream. The colours are lovely and so is the setting. This one was yet another close contender. This week, there isn’t a dud amongst my selection, so I’m fascinated to see which you will choose as your favourite… unless you dislike all of them, of course!

27 responses »

  1. Comparing cover designs is always (well, mostly) a lot of fun. In this case, it is.The first one is simply garish — use of bright colors for shock effect, not for any obvious aesthetic reason. Not good. The second is dull, and the frilly font? Please. The third is nice, low key, but it works. The fourth is the best, Good but not overwhelming use of color, and (as you noted) a great though stylized depiction of rain. The final one is okay, but again the colors are a bit too much (though not as bad as with the first cover), but the stereotyped Japanese scene made me say to myself, “Oh please!”
    I love this feature of your blog. Please keep it up.

    • Lol… I fully intend to keep it going – and I love your comments:)). It’s always fun to note other peoples’ reactions to cover art. Thank you for taking the time to consider, then comment with your opinions – and have a great weekend.

  2. These are all beautiful! What a great idea for this week. I’m going with the Sceptre edition since I just love everything about it, plus I’ve never seen it before😁

    • I know what you mean – I suppose this is because the book is a literary historical adventure, so the cover artists can come at it in a variety of angles… And yes – I agree that second cover is lovely.

  3. A hard choice this week… I’m uncertain between the cover with the lady in the kimono and the one with the pouring rain, which is quite moody and eye-catching. Maybe I’m leaning more toward the latter but… I don’t really know! (((SIGH))) 😀

  4. Some great covers here. My favorite is the first one — Random House 2010. I love the combination of colors for the landscape and even the boxy font because of the 3-D effect on it. I think it all works well together.
    I think the Croation edition is interesting. It makes me wonder if the cover has texture to it.
    And I like the Thorndike Press 2011 edition as well because of the colors and script-like font.

  5. Oh wow! All these covers are gorgeous. I guess the title having autumn in the cover keeps making my eyes look for autumn-ish things. That rain-soaked cover, of all things, is my favorite–maybe because I’ve been going through some autumn rains. Or, maybe like you said, rain upon the cover is rare, and there’s something ominous about “a thousand autumns” in a terrible rain…

  6. To be honest, none of these really grabs me as great, but if I was to pick one, I’d go with the Croatian edition. It’s a bit bland and lacking contrast for a cover, but I love the reference to ukiyo-e style.

    • To be fair, trying to pin anything down written by David Mitchell and then put a cover on it, must be a bit like nailing smoke. He crosses so many genre boundaries with his writing…

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