"The Clothing of Books" --Talk by Jhumpa Lahiri at Labyrinth Book Store. Princeton.

Jhumpa Lahiri, the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize Winner author of " The Interpreter of Melodies" was at the Labyrinth Book Store this evening at a very interesting and interactive session along with her book designer Amenda Weiss, who designed her latest essay-length book "The Clothing of Books". As they both explore the art of making a book jacket from their own perspectives, they delve deep into the intricacies and complexities of the relationship between the text and the image, the author and the designer and their connect and disconnect between art and commerce. Jhumpa expressed her anguish of times when she was forced to accept book jackets that she disliked and found problematic and disapointing. She discussed at length how the pairing and understanding between the writer and the artist is important to her. She wishes to interact directly with the artist and not remain mysterious and hidden from each other. She strongly dislikes the fact that the publishing houses handle all the interactions and the artist and writer remain alien to each other. But such is the norm of the day and she is forced to give in. In her own words "I say to myself, Let it go, it's not worth the battle". In her opinion most of her book jackets doesn't fit her, they are not of her choice and she is not even involved in the process and only gets to see the final product in an email attachment. Lahiri draws a parallel here to the uniforms prevalent in the schools in India, which she thinks could be the solution to her problem. She could have her identity and also an anonymity. She highlights the specific identifying and unifying  issue in this publication " The Clothing of Books", to her "If the process of writing is a dream, the book cover represents the awakening".