Sam Kittinger wins ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ Re-Covered Books Contest

Sam Kittinger's cover for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Picking a winner for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Re-Covered Books contest was a difficult challenge. The story is incredibly unusual which is certainly a part of the book’s charm. If you’re unfamiliar with the plot, here’s a quick synopsis.

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

So you can see why this might be the toughest book we’ve ever taken on. We had a number of really beautiful entries and I couldn’t be more happy with the high quality of work that was entered. But there had to be one winner, and I chose this beautiful cover by Sam Kittinger.

Sam Kittinger's cover for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I chose Sam’s entry for a number of reasons: first there’s the vibe. His use of imagery, textures, colors, and subtle gradients give the cover an ethereal feeling that’s pervasive in the book. Good examples are the wind-up bird, who’s always heard by Toru but never seen, and Toru being down in the well where odd things begin to happen. The imagery are old snapshots of a man and cats, Mt. Fuji and of course the author on the back, who almost becomes a part of the story. These photos lend to the idea of fragmentation, to the idea of many pieces to a complex story that’s not quite clear.

I think the color choices and graphic elements were also spot on. The combination of the seafoam green, orange, black and a natural paper color is beautiful, but also slightly off. Off the top of my head I can’t think of many books that use this unique color palette but I think it works. There’s a nice contrast between the colors that make all of the elements really pop. I think this cover would also stand out really nicely on a book shelf or an Amazon store result, key things to consider.

I want to give a big congrats and thanks to Sam for making such an awesome cover. You can see more of Sam’s work on his website by clicking here. I also want to again thank everyone who took the time to enter. We’ll have a new Re-Covered Books contest next week so keep your eyes peeled.

February 28, 2013 / By