In Vietnamese, ru is a lullaby; in French, it is a small stream.
This tiny, eponymous intertextuality sets the stage for Kim Thúy’s novel Ru – a novel about immigration, the flow of time and water, and the search for homeland. Ru is so lyrical that it reads like a poem; it swims from moment to moment like a fish, somehow linking fragments together out of time, space, and nationality.
Its covers – spanning more than a dozen languages – are equally delicate, complex, and lovely.
From left to right and top to bottom: Bulgarian edition, French edition, French edition, German edition, Italian edition, English hardback edition, Serbian edition, Swedish edition, and Norwegian edition.
I love the use of bold colour in these covers – strong reds and blues, and not much else. The repeating flower motif lends delicacy and intricacy to the images – especially the drawn outlines. And what do we get from the fact that we so often see a woman on the cover – but never her face?
Interestingly, the German title roughly translates to “The Sound of Strangers” and the Italian title to “Shore,” both of which are oddly fitting.
Which cover is your favourite? Feel free to link to any great cover art that I’ve missed!
Cover to Cover is a weekly project comparing and critiquing the various covers of popular novels, published every Wednesday. Find more posts in this series here.