Friday Faceoff – A clock only turns in one direction… #Brainfluffbookblog #FridayFaceofftimecovers

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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 being nurtured by Lynn’s Book Blog and this week we are featuring covers depicting TIME. I’ve selected The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – see my review.


This offering was produced by Random House in September 2014. While it isn’t my favourite – I do love the fact this cover is different. Very stripped back and spare, nonetheless, there is a lot going on, here. The sky appearing as a backdrop to this design, marked off with a series of concentric circles. It is certainly a cover that makes me stop and check out the book – which is what you want. If I have a grizzle, it is that the title and author fonts are rather underwhelming and tend to get lost within all those circles.

Published in September 2014, by Sceptre, this cover is a bit more traditional. It is also beautiful and the complete opposite of the previous cover. The golden apple is still there, swathed in water on which balances the lighthouse. The flock of birds describes another beautiful, colourful pattern across the black background, while the unravelling of an old-fashioned cassette tape in the corner provides yet more decoration and scrolling patterns. I love this cover and it is my favourite – partly because the way details and things appear to be disconnected, but actually aren’t. And that just about sums up Mitchell’s writing.

This Polish edition, published by MAG in January 2016, is another striking offering. This one is all about the clocks – with more of those concentric circles, but this time, it is a beautiful old clock face at the centre and a couple of other timepieces disrupting the pattern. The clockwork cogs and gearing providing the decoration are again, lovely and eye-catching. This is another cover I’m fond of, and if it wasn’t for the vibrant offering above, and the cover below, this one might have tempted me.

This Portuguese edition, published in January 2016 by Editorial Presença is another major contender. I really like the simplicity and strength of this design. The sky as a backdrop and the golden apple with a clock face. I think it is really effective and strong. What ultimately swung my judgement in favour of the second cover is the bland treatment of the title and author fonts, which could have been given more thought and originality, so they match with the striking visual statement of the artwork.

This Bulgarian edition, published by Прозорец in May 2019, once again depicts a clock – but this one has spines. I love the pattern it describes, spiralling into a volute. While it lacks the brightness of some of the covers above, it is still beautiful – and provides a strong visual metaphor as to how Mitchell uses Time in this book. I don’t think there are any poor covers here – a lot of it comes down to personal taste. But I’m extremely impressed that such a tricky book to depict has been so well served by a series of stunning and apt images. Which is your favourite?


32 responses »

  1. This is a tough choice, I love all of these. I think I’m edging towards the first one. I love how simple it is, and the way the title and author name is placed is an interesting idea😁

    • They are all good, aren’t they? I do think this week it really is down to personal preferences, so I’m following everyone’s decisions with great interest:).

  2. I agree with your choice because it is the one that really caught my eye. Not knowing what this book is about, that is the only thing I have to go on.

  3. I agree on that second one! Its peculiar mix of elements has me intrigued, while other covers with lots of clocks has me asking where the Dolorian is.

    (Sorry, the kids are currently obsessed with BACK TO THE FUTURE around here, lol.)

    • Ha ha… I recall that stage when you find most of your ideas and comparisons cycle around the current family favourite. I spent a summer humming ‘Those Poor Unfortunate Souls’ from The Little Mermaid and sashaying around the house like the sea-witch, Ursula…

      And yes – the second cover is glorious. So clever and apt, yet also beautiful. And I MUST read more David Mitchell!

      • Aaaah, Little Mermaid! That’s a good one. I still remember getting to see it in the theater with a couple friends or my birthday. I don’t think I’ve made my kids see that one yet, though. Hmmm, I should rectify that… 🙂

      • It’s one of my favourites – the underwater scenes are absolutely lovely and I think the humour throughout is wonderful. And of course, I’ve modelled the caring side of my nature on Ursula the sea witch – I’m just missing sidekicks Flotsom and Jetsom…

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