Two Covers

You couldn’t want a better illustration of the different ways African literature gets marketed towards Amrikans and Africans than the two covers of Yvonne Owuor’s Dust. First, we have Kwani?‘s version, which is exactly right in a lot of particular ways you’ll have to read the book to appreciate:

kwanidust

For a start: the empty shelves frame the term “dust” in really evocative ways, the horseman indoors is a nice image to refract the novel through, and the darkness and grit of the cover gives you the sense of a novel that revolves around dead brothers, fathers, and heroes.

The American version, by contrast is a beautiful African landscape composed of colors and light and… no people:

amrikadust

And yet, I have to admit, if you were going to describe what this novel is like, you could do worse than show them both pictures and say “like that.”