Friday Book Design Blog: The Hardy Tree, by Iphgenia Baal

Jonathan Gibbs

In lieu of a full post, a cautionary tale, for booksellers.

the hardy tree Friday Book Design Blog: The Hardy Tree, by Iphgenia Baal
I heard about this book from Stuart Kelly, selecting judge earlier this year of the Granta Best of Young British Novelists. In a blog post he mentioned some of the more interesting and experimental writers he had come across during the selection process, and described Iphgenia Baal as being like ‘Iain Sinclair’s wayward, smart-mouthed niece’.

Her book, The Hardy Tree (published by Trolley Books), is a semi-art-book semi-essay semi-novella about the St Pancras cemetery and the ‘resurrectionists’ and other developers who have haunted it over the centuries.

On Kelly’s recommendation I bought it, but – shh! – I bought it through an online marketplace (not Amazon) hoping to find it cheaply as I wasn’t 100% sure of it. I did find it cheaply – an ‘acceptable’ copy, due to the staining on the cover.

Which – duh! – is part of the design.

What I got was a mint condition copy of a book that’s been designed to look like been left in a basement for a decade, or down the back of a fridge.

It’s equally imaginatively designed inside. I’m not sure it’s really at the level of Iain Sinclair.

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