Literary Hub is pleased to reveal the cover for Farah Ali’s debut novel, The River, The Town, which publishes in October 2023 from Dzanc Books.
Here’s some more about the book from the publisher:
In the rural town in Pakistan where Baadal grows up, children are named like talismans to sustain life and ward off unhappiness. At seventeen, Baadal has come to understand why his parents named him “Cloud,” with hopes that their Big River will one day flow wide and blue again, and their thirst will be quenched after years of drought. But in the final year of his schooling, abundance seems impossibly far away. As his parents’ marriage–full of rage, despair, and often violence–reaches a breaking point, the only comfort Baadal can afford is a budding kinship with Meena, a divorced older woman he meets on the banks of the drying river.
Meena has only just escaped her abusive husband, but her resistance to remarry soon gives way to the promise of stability and companionship that Baadal offers. Together, they leave the Town in search of greater fortunes in the City. But even strong-willed, independent Meena finds herself bowed by the strain of Badaal’s punishing work schedule, her struggling beauty parlor, and the tension with Baadal’s mother, Raheela, who fights for control of her son as she seeks to leave behind a life of disappointments and discover a freedom she’s never known.
Told in rotating perspectives spanning from 1966 to 1998, THE RIVER, THE TOWN is an intimate portrait of a family unraveling in the throes of indigence, and a tribute to the wounded love that keeps them tethered to each other. With stark and candid prose, Farah Ali traces one family’s fortunes to illuminate the relentless cycle of inequity, juxtaposing the tragic and grueling realities of poverty with the enduring struggle for compassion and humanity.
And here’s the beautiful cover, designed by Jade They:
They told Lit Hub,
I take inspiration from the book and look at artistic research on the subject, I then use these elements to construct a composition using traditional ink painting. Once happy with the image, I then separate the image into different colour layers and transfer each layer to a block of lino and cut away the blank areas of that layer. I try to keep the integrity of the painted line with the cut marks but also allow in the element of unpredictability that the printmaking process imposes. Once cut, the lino is inked up and an impression is taken on paper. The image is then digitally composed with the text.
Ali says of the cover, “I was struck by Jade They’s artwork.. It tells the story so well. While the lines of the earth and the sky give a feeling of starkness, the tones of blue-grey and the darker, warmer yellow-red fill those spaces with an openness. The space Jade leaves on the horizon creates a further sense of possibility, and I love how the novel’s three main people, whose lives we follow, are shown walking toward that.”
The River, The Town will be published by Dzanc Books in October 2023.