Alfred A. Knopf Publishers, New York, New York, 2003


Having done all of the jackets for Louis Begley’s novels since being at Knopf, I always find it a pleasure to read his latest effort. Shipwreck, luckily, had nothing to do with sinking vessels but rather a man’s midlife crisis. Begley’s work is well suited to allegorical images, but in this case I felt something very rooted in the story would be best. There is an exciting bit in which the sexy French female character shows her paintings (in the nude) to our protagonist. Then she gives him one of her abstract pieces. Well, since he’s married, he must keep it in his office.

When I was looking through one of Ralph Gibson’s new books of photographs, I came upon a brilliant image of an empty easel. Thinking that it needed something else to show the marketing department that this was a novel and not a book on art supplies, I made the title be the star in the spot where the painting should go.

Juror Notes

“Quickly literary, haunting and chromatically seductive. Why is that title glowing, anyway?” Cheryl Towler Weese

Collections: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2003
Discipline: Book design
Format: Book cover


Design firm
Alfred A. Knopf Publishers
Art director
Carol Devine Carson
Jacket designer
Carol Devine Carson
Ralph Gibson
Production director
Andy Hughes
Production coordinator
Claire Bradley Ong
Louis Begley
George Andreou
Alfred A. Knopf Publishers
Trim size
53/4 x 9 1/6”
Jacket printer
Coral Graphics
Book type
Literature and nonfiction