Sunday, May 6, 2012

Paperback 524: The Farmers Hotel / John O'Hara (Bantam A2203)

Paperback 524: Bantam A2203 (4th ptg [1st thus], 1960)

Title: The Farmers Hotel
Author: John O'Hara
Cover artist: [James Avati]

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:
  • I love this cover. Specifically, I love the use of text—generously sized and spaced, in gorgeous contrasting white (like the snow it's describing), in a 1/2-cover sized block that abruptly Stops and leaves the lower half quiet as 3am. 
  • James Avati is best known for doing Every Damn Cover for Signet for several years, but this is up there with my favorite work of his. I clearly need a "Sexy Staircase" or "Woman Ascending a Staircase" or "Staircase Puts Woman's Ass at Man's Eye-Level" tag. This is not the first
  • I love how the painting is so still (very Avati), and yet there is subtle motion in both him (rounding the corner) and her (slowly ascending, with a slight but meaningful over-the-shoulder glance).
  • The dress is the thing. Magenta pops against the monochromatic brown background, as well as against the creamy V of her upper back. So, to sum up, Love.


Best things about this back cover:
  • Less love, though this does make me want to read the book.
  • This is the second version of this book that I've featured on this blog.
  • "Jerry Mayo and the Pickwick Sisters" would be a Great band name.

Page 23~ (book is only 119pp. long)

The quiet of the room was almost total, but not peaceful.


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Titus Groan said...

I, too, love this cover. The picture is very noir-ish and just perfect. I think every noir film is required to have a staircase like that.

I'd like to think the guy is Lee Harvey Oswald. That would open up a whole new set of conspiracy theories, with that blizzard and all!

Keir said...

I'm an avid follower of your blog, but this post in particular really impressed me with its insight and appreciation of the nuance of a cover that was only intended to shift a few copies decades ago.

Tulse said...

The back cover is a man short -- who's the fifth guy? It's driving me crazy...

Anonymous said...

@Tulse - Get out of your heterosexual mindset - The handsome couple from Philadephia

Patrick Murtha said...

By all means, do read the book. I have, and I loved it. It'a terrific slice-of-life short novel, which made me feel as if I was right there with the characters in that little inn (and wanted to be). An interesting modern comparison might be with Stewart O'Nan's "Last Night at the Lobster," about the last night of business at a Red Lobster restaurant (and as it happens, "The Farmers Hotel" takes place on the opening night of its establishment, so it's a nice contrast).

DemetriosX said...

Great cover and a great analysis. And I like this one better than the other edition. But I'm confused. The page 23 quote here is identical to the page 123 quote in the other edition. Did you just not mention the lack of 123 pages before or is the one with the Barye Phillips cover the super-large print version?

Rex Parker said...

Whoa ... that is weird. I was thinking that this edition would be paginated identically to the earlier edition, but then when I went back, I looked *only* at the fact that I had written "Page 123" and thus thought "Weird, they must be paginated differently." I clearly didn't even read the quotation I'd used.

So strange to have picked precisely the same line from that page.


Tulse said...

"Get out of your heterosexual mindset - The handsome couple from Philadephia"

We're still left with only seven of eight people described. Anyway you slice it, someone of some gender is being treated on the back cover like the Professor and Mary Anne were in the first season Gilligan's Island theme song.

Deniz Bevan said...

Darn it, I really have to finish my To Read pile first... but I'm hankering after this book and the Somerset Maugham one...