It was 1989. Penguin started releasing these strange new novels, in a squarish format, with French flaps and a matte cover treatment. I remember scrimping and saving just so I could own a couple of them as objects and descend into their new words. I was particularly struck by the covers for Philip Ridley’s IN THE EYES OF MR FURY, above, and Caris Davis’ STEALTH, which came in “black” and “white” editions. I don’t recall if there were differences in the text, possibly because I think I could only afford one of them:
And there are not decent images of those covers to be found on the internet today. It’s hard to even find anything acknowledging the imprint existed, or the work of its designers. This was the best I could do for what I remember as a luminous cover for Tim Cahill’s JAGUARS RIPPED MY FLESH.
I’m hoping I at least have my copy of STEALTH still in a box somewhere, that it wasn’t lost or stolen during my precarity years (I moved between rented rooms a lot in the 80s and early 1990s). Looking at these now, I imagine there was some consternation at the author’s name and book title being on the spine, back and flaps and not on the actual cover. But those covers, and that format, really stood out on shelves. The books felt good in the hand, and there was a sense of challenging newness to them.
I would very much like the story of this imprint to be told one day, before all the memories soak back into the dirt.