Don’t look at me: or, spinning women on book covers

I’ve just finished Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – and, indeed, have just had book group discussing it. A full review will come soon, but first, it inspired me to put together something quickly on book covers. Something entirely unoriginal, but… well, I’ve not done it here before, so it’s original for StuckinaBook.

This is the cover of the copy I read, which I borrowed from the library:

Americanah cover

And it’s a really weird blurry turning woman. What is it with blurry turning women? It reminded me of the covers to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and the eerily similar The Spare Room by Helen Garner:

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Who decides that blurry women and spinning women are what people want on covers? We hear a lot about headless women on covers – and some blurry women can be headless too, it seems – but what is with this spinning? It’s so niche. I don’t recall Ifemelu doing any spinning to speak of.

Of course, I now can’t find any other examples. HAVE I launched into an exposé of something that doesn’t actually happen? Well, possibly. I’m relying on you all to find more examples for me…

6 thoughts on “Don’t look at me: or, spinning women on book covers

  • January 14, 2016 at 1:53 am
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    We do see plenty of headless women on covers, but I also recently read an edition of the novel ‘Merivel’ by Rose Tremain which actually had a headless man on the cover. I cannot think of any blurry anybody on covers though.

  • January 14, 2016 at 8:53 am
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    I hadn’t thought about headless women on book covers – but yes they do feature quite heavily, how weird.

  • January 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm
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    While you’re noticing things, take a look at how similar the colors are on the three covers you showed. Coincidence?

  • January 15, 2016 at 2:49 pm
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    Patrick Gale’s “The Whole Day Through” is another one. She’s not quite so blurry, but she’s definitely turning, and only has half a head.

  • January 16, 2016 at 12:52 pm
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    I’ve got clear and visible women on Mrs Dalloway but am going to have to stare at lots of books in bookshops now …

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