In looking for the next of Lon Kirschner’s cover art I wanted to review, I came upon one I’d been looking at for a while: Looking For Przybylski, by K.C. Frederick. Now, I don’t read all these books as I review their cover art…I just don’t have that kind of time, right now…so I look at the cover art in-and-of themselves. How the covers affect me. How Lon’s work “hits” me. Sometimes I’ll look at reviews, and once, like with A Long Cold Fall, by Sam Reaves, I even got to interview the author (thanks, Lon, for putting us in touch!). On this shot, I looked at some of the reviews. One review in particular talked about the “…difficulty of writing about race with moral integrity.” There were one or more references in the review of the book dealing with or not properly dealing with being a “goddamn Detroit Polack” (the reviewer, oddly enough, was also a “Przybylski,” J.J. Przybylski). This reminded me of when I was growing up and “used to be Polack.”
All through my formative years I’d thought—well, our family thought—that my mom’s side had Polish in the bloodline. So I’d valiantly defended all the Polack jokes. But after graduating high school we’d all come to find out that that line of her family we’d thought had been Polish…had actually been Austrian.
Really, Mom? You couldn’t have done a little research a few years earlier?
If I remember all that had been discovered right, the family-member-in-question had been Austrian during WWII and had fled Austria on the basis of claiming to have been Polish to avoid being drafted into the Austrian army…hence, the lineage fabrication.
What does this have to do with the book?
Well, apparently nothing…except that J.J. Przybylski’s review reminded me of the whole “Polack thing” of my youth, and, well, apparently, this book deals-or-not-properly-deals-with that “whole Polack thing.”
Back to the cover: I picked this cover this time around because I love road trips and being on the road, and well, that is what this cover is all about!
It’s portraying a road trip into the night. And what does the night typically symbolize? Mystery. The unknown. “Darkness” of some kind beyond the obvious. But there is a light being shone (“shined”? “Shone” works for what’s coming next…) into that darkness, as is (pardon the pun) shown at the bottom of the cover. And that is what this book seems to be about: Przybylski is an undertaker who has taken down a one-time Detroit criminal, named Ziggy Czarnecki. Ziggy hears about Przybylski and goes in search of him cross-country. On a bus. Weird things happen. Interesting people are met. And according to J. J. Przybylski’s review, “It’s a good book…written with a gentleman’s reserve.” Now, if something supernatural was involved, I be tempted to take a read….
I also love the artistic perspective of the road, vanishing not only into the distance, but also into the night. And sometimes…sometimes I feel it’s better to leave such musings there…and not actually discover what is actually found there…in the night…in the “vanishing point” that is at the end of that road, this novel. I’m sure given the plot and characters, nasty things will happen, and I don’t necessarily want to know those nasty things. But I like the mystery that this cover implies. Love the imagery.
Here is what Lon Kirschner has to say about his work in designing this cover:
“When I first received the manuscript I remember thinking, Hmmm…I can’t even pronounce the title of this book. That led me to thinking that it should somehow become part of the cover in a very clean way. For the uninitiated in Polish names, I kept the typography simple and pretty straight forward with a color that evokes the flecks in the road.
“Yes, this is a road trip and it does take the form of a bus ride through lonely country. I remembered long bus trips when I was a teenager in upstate NY going to visit my sister at college and a certain sadness I felt traveling home alone on the bus at night when the weekend visit was over. It was that feeling of riding a bus alone that inspired this. The trip in the book is odd as bus trips often are when you are closed in with people you don’t know but somehow manage to form some kind of bond with the person next to you. Things seem accelerated in the small amount of time you get to know (or choose not to know) your fellow travelers.
“You are right, this book does have a supernatural quality to it, but nothing terrible happens. In fact you actually don’t know if something does happen out of the ordinary, because it is the ordinary that somehow becomes extraordinary.
“The cover does represent the bus trip in a literal sense, but more importantly it represents someone getting closer to a knowledge about themselves that they never would have discovered had they not gotten on the bus and made the journey.”
Thanks, Lon. I also used to ride buses during my teenaged years. My parents had divorced and I had taken the Trailways line down from Saranac Lake, NY to Glens Falls and Albany to visit my mother. As Lon says, I also felt “a certain sadness” upon my return trip from seeing my mom. I found the Trailways trips cozy. I don’t recall if I traveled alone or with my brother, Chris (my other two siblings stayed with my mom), but since those bus rides involved a bit of distance, buses stop every few miles, the night was always involved. And, as I’ve already mentioned, I love driving, being on the road, and night drives…so I liked the nocturnal atmosphere of the drives, and being in a big comfy bus. I don’t recall too much interaction on these bus rides. Just lots of pleasant smiles and politeness…and intense reflection about how our family had fractured and life would never be the same.
Perhaps not too far from how this story unfolds….
Lon Kirschner may be contacted at:
Book Cover Site: http://www.lonkirschner.com/
- Kirschner Cover Art: A Long Cold Fall, by Sam Reaves (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Kirschner Cover Art: “Clowns,” by F. P. Dorchak (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Kirschner Cover Art: In Pinelight, by Thomas Rayfiel (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Kirschner Cover Art: Grace, by Howard Owen (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)
- Cover Artist Lon Kirschner Interview (fpdorchak.wordpress.com)