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Meet Franz Kafka and Simone de Beauvoir’s Book Designer

Earlier today, the LA Review of Books published an interview with Jewish book cover designer, Peter Mendelsund. Even if you don’t recognize the name, if you’re a reader you’ve almost certainly seen his work. Among other projects, Mendelsund has redesigned covers from the back catalogs of such notable authors as Franz Kafka, Simone De Beauvoir, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Newer titles have included recent work by Tom McCarthy, Jo Nesbø, and Martin Amis. In addition to his design work, Mendulsund is the author of two books: “What We See When We Read” (Vintage, 2014), and “Covers” (powerHouse Books, 2014).

The bulk of the discussion between Mendelsund and interviewer Sam Jaffe Goldstein focuses on the book designer’s new work on the W.G. Sebald back catalogue, but the two also discuss Mendelsund’s influences, his former life as a Pianist, and his thoughts on the importance of cover design. On the continued importance of physical books in the new digital landscape, Mendelsund says “One of those assets [of a physical book] is its materiality as an object, that it can be a beautiful thing, that it can have this beautiful paratextual space in which all this stuff happens.”

You can read the whole interview here on the LA Review of Books website.

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