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The Hunting Gun (Pushkin Collection)
Pushkin Collection, 2014
112 pp., $16.00
Tender Buttons: The Corrected Centennial Edition
City Lights Publishers, 2014
134 pp., $9.95
The Great Impersonation (British Library Spy Classics)
E. Phillips Oppenheim
British Library, 2014
288 pp., $15.00
Pietr the Latvian (Inspector Maigret)
Penguin Books, 2014
176 pp., $11.00
Letter from the Editor
In his essay-review in this issue (pp. 35-38), before zeroing in on the centenary edition of Robert Hayden's Collected Poems, Brett Foster celebrates reprints, reissues, new editions keyed to some notable anniversary, and all manner of bookish repackaging. "I often find," he writes, "that an old book comes into fresh focus when its publisher rolls out the promotional red carpet. I admit to being too easily hooked, like a little boy with a bauble, by a redesign of a book with which I am long familiar, and likely even have in my possession already. Visuals aside, I am also a fan of that slightest of subgenres, the literary introduction, and so am glad to find some novelist briefly introducing a venerable or modern classic, or a reflective author presenting a new preface for a second edition."
I know exactly what Brett means (that's one reason he and I have so often gone book-hunting together), and I can't resist adding to his generous list of examples. Have you seen any of the titles published by Pushkin Press, based in London? The books are beautifully made, and the Pushkin list is deliciously distinctive. Recently I read The Hunting Gun, a novella by Yasushi Inoue (1907-1991), first published in Japan in 1949 and now translated into English by Michael Emmerich. Inoue, who had worked as an editor and journalist, started late with fiction but went on to become a prolific and highly regarded writer of novels and stories. Though I've read a lot of Japanese lit in translation, this was my first encounter with him. I'm looking forward to reading Bullfight, first published around the time of The Hunting Gun, and Life of a Counterfeiter (already available in the UK and coming in the U.S. next year), also from Pushkin Press.
Brett mentions the appeal of familiar books that appear with a new design. My favorite current example is the redesign of the Calvino list at Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, undertaken by Peter Mendelsund and Oliver Munday. I've never cared for the ...