Saturday, December 22, 2007

Paperback 58: Orient Express / Graham Greene (Bantam 1333)

Paperback 58: Bantam 1333 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Orient Express
Author: Graham Greene
Cover artist: George Gross

"The story of a woman who struggled valiantly to hold up a giant, red wall!"


"The story of a woman who stood up to a marauding Lionel Train set!"


"The story of one woman's attempt to reach the On / Off switch
without drawing attention to herself!"

Best things about this cover:
  • Fabulous melodramatic art. Love the exaggerated expression of terror on her face.
  • Trenchcoat!
  • After a few shabby reprints, we're back in the sweet spot of my collection. 1955 is probably the high point for paperback cover art, and George Gross is one of the top artists of the period (God I love it when I can read the artist's signature on a cover - it's shocking how often the artwork goes unattributed). I'd venture to guess that the average quality of cover art for 1955 is higher than that for any other year, with a rapid decline thereafter. I may have to start assigning covers ratings in order to "prove" my assertions.
  • I had a student this past semester who looked an awful lot like this woman. She got an A-, which is pretty damned good in any class of mine.
  • Graham Greene is my hero. He made so-called "genre fiction" cool in the eyes of the so-called "literary" establishment. He writes a hell of a sentence. If I could have anyone's literary career, it would be Graham Greene's. His, or John O'Hara's.


Anonymous said...

If I'd "had" that student, I'd brag about it too.

Michael5000 said...

"Had" that student to rest, he means.

Got my dad this book for Christmas. It should be a "Pop Sensation," if you will.