Friday Book Design Blog: Ukraine Diaries, by Andrey Kurkov

Jonathan Gibbs

ukraine diaries Friday Book Design Blog: Ukraine Diaries, by Andrey Kurkov
This appeared on my doormat this week, along with various other books, and I reached for it with a lurch of surprise and – not delight exactly – but expectation. If literature is, as Pound said, news that stay news, then it can be equally thrilling when literature turns its usually eternal, or at least long-range sights on the present day.

The book world moves at the pace of a dinosaur, so to have reportage produced with a turnaround such as this is impressive: Andrey Kurkov’s diary of the Ukrainian crisis runs from November 2013 to the end of April 2014, with an afterword dated 27 June. Obviously much has happened since then, but then this isn’t journalism, it’s insight.

The book’s cover perfectly matches the intention of the text: it’s simple, direct, evocative, appealing. The font (which I can’t pin down exactly) has a certain geographic resonance, even before it is dressed in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, while the photograph of the woman “manning” the barricade, by Larry Towell, couldn’t be more direct in its appeal. Which side of the barricade are you on?

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