By Mark Sinclair

Canongate art director Rafaela Romaya has collaborated again with illustrator Yehrin Tong on the paperback edition of Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things. The result is a pair of covers that echo the original hardback design, but more explicity depict the relationship at the heart of the novel…

Peter, the book’s protagonist, is shown on one cover while the second features his wife, Bea – in silver and gold foil respectively. A tear is featured on both covers, again referencing the design of the hardback edition which came out in October last year. (Romaya and Tong told CR about the process behind the design of that cover, here.) Faber’s book follows Peter’s journey as a missionary – he leaves behind his beloved wife “for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible – his ‘book of strange new things’.”

“After the hardback cover was so well received, we wanted the paperback package to have a similar feel and yet also draw out the relationship between Bea and Peter which forms the core of the novel,” says Romaya.

“Peter and Bea are physically separated for majority of the book, and this is reflected in how they relate to each other. With this in mind, I was immediately drawn to producing two covers … simultaneously unifying them through execution and separating them.”


Romaya says that the illustration retains “a serene yet other-worldly quality” – which also harks back to Tong’s work on the hardback edition, the ‘Book Cover’ winner at the recent V&A Illustration Awards. “Though the setting is fictional,” she adds, “the emotions are real and it’s important to visualise this. The single tear on each face nods to the hardback jacket, but also our very human tendency to cry when words are not enough.”

The paperback editions of The Book of Strange New Things will be published by Canongate in August. See

Read more here:: Two new covers for Faber's Book of Strange New Things