A visual translation of Arundhati Roy’s novel
London-based designer David Eldridge speaks of his collaboration with Arundhati Roy and the making of her book covers
There are books that have remained perennial reader favourites, but there are very few books with covers that have become iconic. Memorable ones that immediately spring to mind are two: the airplane and a madcap uniformed man dancing over Joseph Heller’s name on the cover of Catch-22 (1961), and the bowler hat-clad man with one cogwheel eye on Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange (1962). Then there is Arundhati Roy’s The God Of Small Things, the original cover of which used its publisher Sanjeev Saith’s close-up of lotus leaves and a pink flower on a murky water surface. So enduring has been this cover, designed by David Eldridge of the London-based design firm Two Associates, that several subsequent editions of the novel have not strayed from the lotus motif.For her second novel, Roy has been equally particular about the cover. Meru Gokhale, editor-in-chief, literary publishing, Penguin Random House India, says they created many options, but Roy didn’t like any. She was independently in touch with Eldridge, and one day last winter called Gokhale home, saying, “I think I have the cover."