Cover to cover with The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is a crash course in the beauty of magic realism. Our intrepid hero loses his cat, meets a chain-smoking teenager, falls down a well, and completes a bemused journey through a dream world. One of the things I love about the book is that the main character has an extremely straight-forward perspective – blunt and naive at the same time.

I’ve only ever seen two covers for The Wind-up Bird Chronicle in real life: John Gall’s paperback (far left) and Chip Kidd’s hardcover, (middle with jacket and right without, which is sort of incredibly clever).

John Gall's North American cover Chip Kidd's hardcover dust jacket Chip Kidd's hardcover below the dust jacket

But the internet is a beautiful place, and I quickly discovered a host of other covers which strive to reflect the constantly shifting, dreamlike nature of the novel. I can’t decide if this is surprising or completely unsurprising, but the best ones are unofficial tributes to the novel from graphic designers, illustrators, and fans rather than official covers.

Zara Picken's cover Phillip Cheaney's cover   Sam Kittinger's cover  Edward Kwong's cover Hannah Holmes' cover Noah MacMillian's cover    blueUnknown illustratorUnknown illustrator

From left to right: Top row covers by Zara Picken, Phillip Cheaney, and Sam Kittinger. Middle row covers by Edward Kwong, Hannah Holmes, and Noah MacMillian. Bottom row covers are sadly unclaimed by illustrators – let me know if you can track down names and I’ll add credit where credit is due.

Cover to Cover is a weekly project comparing and critiquing the various covers of popular novels. Find more posts in this series here – and feel free to link to your blog in the comments if you do one of your own!


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