Minae Mizumura’s second novel to be translated in English, Inheritance from Mother, comes out May 2, and today we’re pleased to share the gorgeous cover with you. We spoke to Kathleen DiGrado, the talent behind the cover, who had this to say:
“The design process was intuitive for me, so it’s difficult to describe. I have had trouble several times in the past when the AIGA, GRAPHIS, or another of the design organizations asked me to do the same when winning an award; once I just wrote a haiku.
To be quite honest, I was sad when I designed this cover. My mother is Japanese, and she was recently diagnosed with dementia/early Alzheimer’s, so there are many parallels between my present situation and Mitsuki’s.
I wanted to hint at the design for Minae Mizumura’s previous work, A True Novel, so I was delighted to once again use the traditional Japanese crest frames from a wonderful book I have. I wanted it to look elegant but somewhat somber. It’s quite easy for cherry blossoms to come off as a cliché, but they really are an important part of Japanese culture, and certainly for the older generation. I thought if we could somehow simulate the blossoms and frames as if they were printed on rice paper, in an imperfect way, this would convey the inner complexities faced by the dutiful Japanese daughter. The gold foil stamp adds another layer of the glimmer of hope fading. Love, beauty, contempt, and longing…I hope the cover conveys at least some of those themes.”