Harvill/Vintage Kurkov by Ian Bilbey
Sometime around 2003, Random House UK, via its Harvill and Vintage imprints, started to issue English translations of the quirky gangster novels by the Russian-born Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov with suitably quirky cover designs featuring illustrations by Ian Bilbey.
Click on a cover for the full size image.
Compare these with the decidedly less playful original Harvill cover for Death and the Penguin issued circa 2001
or with the French editions issued by Liana Levi starting in 2000 (not so great, are they?)
The French translations have also been issued in poche editions by Points, an imprint of Éditions du Seuil. Le caméléon and Le dernier amour du président are both Joëlle Jolivet designs (she’s had previous experience illustrating penguins!), but I’m not too sure about the other three. These aren’t too bad, as all but Le pingouin have been redesigned in conjunction with the 2006 relaunch and redesign of the Points brand, but the Ian Bilbey designs are a tough act to follow.
This handy title equivalency table will assist anyone wishing to compare cover designs for the same book across linguistic lines.