icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Flatbush Flashback

A Book and Its Covers


The front and back covers of the new Nowhere Man paperback, the first updated English-language print edition in 20 years, has certain references and symbols that a casual reader might overlook. Let's begin with the the color red in "Nowhere" and in the background of the front cover. This is a reference to the cover of J. D. Salinger's classic novel of disaffected youth, The Catcher in the Rye, which plays a crucial role in Nowhere Man. Mark David Chapman believed that if he murdered John Lennon he would literally disappear into the pages of Catcher, become the Catcher in the Rye for his generation, and there would be a new chapter of the book, Chapter 27, written in Lennon's blood. At Chapman's court hearing, after he pleaded guilty to murder, he chose to read a passage from Catcher as his way of explaining why he did it.


In Nowhere Man, I explore the insanity of what Chapman believed and what he did, and try to make sense of a senseless act that defies rational explanation.


The photo of Lennon, which perfectly captures the mood of the book, was shot in Denmark in 1970.


The circle and lines on the back cover are a reference to the tarot card the Sun, which portends good fortune, joy, and harmony. Both John and Yoko were deeply into tarot—they had a full-time tarot-card reader, Charlie Swan. In Nowhere Man, I examine their obsession with tarot and other occult practices, including magic, astrology, and numerology.


There have been 15 editions of Nowhere Man, in various languages, all with different covers. This cover, designed by Grey Thornberry, I think is the best one yet, and I hope it will entice you to pick up the book.


My latest book, A Brooklyn Memoir, is available on Amazon, Bookshop, all other online booksellers, and at your local brick-and-mortar bookstore.


I invite you to join me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter or my eternally embryonic Instagram.

Be the first to comment