FSG’s About Face on the My Struggle Covers

Apparently the abomination is over: as Michael points out, the market has spoken, and it hates the original paperback covers for My Struggle, so FSG has gone with a change of design. Here’s how they compare.

Old (Lord have mercy!!):

New:

True, these new covers are boring as hell and reflect the InDesign skills of roughly 95% of current high school seniors, but, by God, I think at this point we’ll all gladly accept non-offensively dull over the carnival-madman-vomit aesthetic of the originals.

I admit, I’m sad in a way. I really wanted to see how that gigantic hand would look holding a big number 6. And there was an undeniable camaraderie to spotting one in a store and spontaneously bursting into laughter along with the dude who just happened to be standing next to you. Oh well.


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Yeah, I’m mostly sad. I wanted to see how chaotic they got and you nailed the camaraderie aspect: maybe never before have I so consistently seen people utter a strong opinion and it be met with complete agreement. The cover also just fascinated me endlessly, a deeper and more confused and empty mystery than beat anything on Lost.

I like the ugly ones better than the boring ones, but I guess I am in the minority. But I’ll defer to P.T. Smith as he is usually right about things.

    Mans! Good lord. I read your comment and wondered who the heck thought I’m usually right besides me and then saw it was you. I’m so glad you still lurk the good and safe corners of the internet and were there a way to say hey, shoot me an email without awkwardly tossing out my email address, I would do so.

    And yes, sort of replying to Michael S. below, I feel bad for the designer, nothing personal to them, because as someone recently who had to, after objection, sign off on a cover using a stock photo of bamboo for a book about social work in Asia, I have empathy.

      PT: I think if you click on my name now, it has a link to my blog–you can contact me through that if you would like.

      And some on point content: While I don’t really like any of the covers that much, I like the size and weight of the FSG paperbacks. To the extent that a book-as-physical-object impacts my reading experience, the FSGs are the size and shape I like.

      They were also the only ones available to me when I bought Vol 1 on vacation.

I love ugly covers, and am proud to own one of these FSG Knausgaards.

They have their own aesthetic, their own weirdness…like the Vintage Contemporaries of the 1980s, they stand out.

Weirdness is always better than bland safety.

I was hoping to see a comment beginning, “As the founder of the carnival-madman-vomit aesthetic, I strenuously object to…”, but so far nothing. Oh well.

The old cover looks like Lisa Frank by way of Terry Gilliam. I like it. The new one looks portentous/pretentious. Knausgaard looks like a smoking Jesus or at least a smoking Peter O’Toole.

Lisa Frank / Terry Gilliam sums it up perfectly.

I’m bummed out that I don’t get to have the next five volumes match the cover design of my first volume. I quite like it.

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