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This is the first German edition of Anthony Burgess’s 1986 novel The Pianoplayers. Translated by Joachim Kalka, it was published as Der Mann am Klavier in 1989 by Klett-Cotta. Designed in-house by the publishers, the image was used on the cover of Klett-Cotta’s catalogue for that year with the book presented as the lead title.
Reviewed positively in Der Spiegel (here – in German) Burgess’s autobiographically-inspired novel of the pubs and silent cinemas of 1920s and 1930s Manchester, the world of his father Joe, remains one of his warmest and most accessible, if most structurally flawed works. The narrator is Ellen Henshaw, a retired prostitute reflecting on her troubled childhood, where she was brought up by her pianoplaying father: Burgess’s characteristic preoccupations with words, music, high and low culture, and the nature of creativity pervade this funny and charming book.
Artist Sam Huddleston has created a silk-screen print inspired by this cover design as part of the exhibition ‘Urgent Copy’, on show at Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, until 7 January 2014. More details here.