An Artist of the Floating World, Kazuo Ishiguro’s second novel, won the Whitbread Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize when first published in 1986. There have been five Faber & Faber paperback editions since, whose cover designs have all drawn on elements of the novel in different ways:
Its thirtieth anniversary, this year, was a good opportunity to bring out a beautiful new edition, both to celebrate a modern classic and to bring readers to it who may have only discovered Ishiguro through his most recent novel, The Buried Giant. Incorporating cover flaps for the first time, as well as a fascinating introduction from the author to give context to the writing of the novel and an insight into the way he approaches his work, it was an exciting brief.
As Luke Bird, Senior Designer at Faber & Faber, says: ‘Using the cover design of The Buried Giant as inspiration, the slightly more complicated “story-scene” again lent itself to a commissioned illustration. We needed to portray the central character (the “artist” himself) in traditional dress, his traditional house in the appropriate landscape, and a selection of lanterns which would mirror the “sun” on The Buried Giant’s cover (and, handily, form a backdrop/frame for the ‘30th Anniversary Edition’ wording). Neil Gower, who we are very lucky to work with regularly, is a talented, highly respected and versatile illustrator. We knew that he could achieve our desired line style, and bring a certain flair to the scene. We had sketched out the framework roughly, specified colours and settled on typography, before Neil added his elements.’