We Need to Talk About Kevin

It’s a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time and boy am I glad I finally did. And now I just want to get my hands on other novels by Lionel Shriver. She herself says that her “other books are good too”.

But for now I might just reread this one. Yep, it’s that kind of a book. I want to experience again the multitude of emotions it evoked and to immerse myself in the beautiful, elegant prose.

Yes, I see why some might think the novel is too wordy or high-flown, it’s a question of taste of course. To me Shriver’s writing was vivid and persuasive and reading Kevin felt like talking to a kindred spirit, but one that is more eloquent and bold than me. Eva Khatchadourian voiced my very own thoughts and worries, and did it in such an intelligent and coherent way that I felt validated identifying with her.

I will probably write about Kevin again once I reread it, but for now I wanted to share a little side research.

Even though I read ebooks more and more often, I prefer traditional paper books. I find that in physical form they have a kind of presence that takes them beyond the art of storytelling and ideas and makes them into tangible pieces of art. A book’s cover is an important, integral part of that art.

My copy of Kevin was a second-hand paperback with this cover:


which I don’t like. It’s a gory thriller cover, whereas Shriver’s novel is a pensive drama. The colors, blue and red, do evoke a sense of foreboding, but they’re too sensational.

I thought the book was exceptionally good and it deserved an exceptional cover so I googled to check other editions. Unsurprisingly many covers were based on the movie images, and out of those I preferred the ones that work with melancholy and oppression, rather than sensation:

Comic Comic Comic

Then there were covers that played with the unsettling nexus of child’s creativity and destruction, which I thought was an interesting idea:

Comic Comic

There was a cover that made me think of Rosemary’s Baby:


and another one that brought to mind Clockwork Orange:


There were some truly spooky covers:

Comic Comic

and some that, in my opinion, really, really didn’t fit:

Comic Comic

All in all, I didn’t find the cover that I was looking for — the perfect cover.

I think Kevin is a masterful book and the only thing that could make it better as a piece of art would be a better cover. I’d be curious, if you know of a Kevin cover that you think is perfect for it (or just beautiful) — please share.

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