Daily Bookshot: From Twitter to Fruition

From Twitter to Fruition, originally uploaded by Robert Burdock.

I first saw the cover for Pauline Melville’s newly published novel Eating Air (Telegram Books), a few weeks ago on Twitter. Impressed with the work of the cover’s designer Leo Nickolls, Telegram Books were revealing it for the first time, and asking for people’s opinion. From what I can recall the general consensus was very positive, and I for one loved it, thinking that the ballet dancer poised on the top of an explosives plunger was unique, memorable and wholly appropriate to the cover blurb for the novel, which goes a little something like this (warning: it does seem to contain minor spoilers):

Ella de Vries, a stunning obsidian-eyed beauty who dances with the Royal Ballet, falls in love with Donny McLeod, a Dionysiac rebel and free spirit who ‘beleives in nothing’. It is the 1970s. They move into a household of political radicals and become casually drawn into extremism. Special Branch infiltration leads to a violent crime that sends Ella into self-imposed exile in Brazil. Donny goes wandering.

Over thirty years later Ella returns. The economy is in freefall. A new kind of terrorist is active. The unruly nature of love re-unites her with Hector, a former housemate torn over whether to make common cause with Islamic extremists in attacking a bank. When Donny reappears Ella becomes the catalyst for a series of events, the final outcome of which is as shocking as it is unexpected.

So you see? Ballet and explosives do go together in this instance (it would seem), so the cover’s main graphic is ingeniously relevant. As a whole the cover may have been attractive enough on a monitor screen presented as a tiny jpg, but to see it in the flesh in all its glory, has made me fall in love with the cover all over again. It’s sumptuous, bold and very eye-catching. Good job Leo!

As far as the novel itself goes, well I can’t pass comment until I read it of course. But it does appear to hold a fair amount of promise, and not just because of the synopsis. Pauline Melville’s first book, a collection of short stories under the title of Shape-shifter (Bloomsbury), won among other awards, the Guardian Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Ventriloquist’s Tale (Bloomsbury), picked up the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1997 and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize the following year. So if the author’s track record is anything to go by then Eating Air is going to nothing like its title suggests, rather it’s going to be a reader’s banquet.

Telegram Books | 14 September 2009 | £12.99 | HARDBACK | 408 PP | ISBN: 9781846590764

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. i just love Twittering compared to blogging. i was a blog addict and now i am a Twitter addict.