Breaking the waves

The Boat by Nam Le.
Design by Carol Devine Carson.
Photography by Clifford Ross.

Whereas seeing the previous book in the bookstore made me like the design more, seeing this cover in person had the opposite effect. On screen, I thought Carson used Ross's photography to stunning effect. Unfortunately, the jacket is printed on a textured uncoated stock, which lends the book literary heft at the expense of rendering the image. The ink has soaked into the paper, dulling the blacks and overall contrast; as a result, the waves lose detail. It's still a nice design, but some of the photograph's drama has been lost along the way. (Incidentally, it would have been nice to carry the image around to the back for a nice landscape effect—much like the website—instead of the solid pale back ad, but I guess there were too many quotes to fit in the space above the ocean.)

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