The Red Thread Edition
A Novel, by
Published In A Hand-Bound Limited Edition From
“When you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”
Coraline Jones, feeling isolated and lonely in her new home, sets about exploring and finds a strange doorway which opens up to a parallel, sinister otherworld. Here, with the help of her allies, she must battle dark forces and, using her wit and bravery, fight to release her family from the evil clutches of her ‘Other Mother’.
Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is a 2002 ‘children’s horror’ novella. It is a New York Times Bestseller and the winner of the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers. It was also the winner of the 2003 Hugo Award and the 2003 Nebula Award for Best Novella. Coraline was adapted into a stop-motion animated film in 2009, directed by Henry Selick.
The author has very graciously allowed us to make some minor alterations to the text which has resulted in red thread rather than black thread. Ours is the only edition that contains these alterations and has been subtitled: ‘The Red Thread Edition’. The books contain newly commissioned colour plates and black and red silhouettes by multi award-winning illustrator, Rovina Cai.
Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author and creator of books, graphic novels, short stories, film and television for all ages, including Norse Mythology, Neverwhere, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, The View from the Cheap Seats, and the Sandman comic series.
His fiction has received Newbery, Carnegie, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner Awards. American Gods, based on the 2001 novel, is now a critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated TV series, and he was the writer and showrunner for the mini-series adaptation of Good Omens, based on the book he co-authored with Sir Terry Pratchett.
In 2017, he became a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Originally from England, he lives in the United States, where he is a professor at Bard College.
Rovina Cai is an illustrator from Melbourne, Australia. Her poetic imagery has served as covers and interior artwork for novels and picture books. Clients she has had the pleasure of working with include Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Harpercollins, The Folio Society and Tor.com, among others.
Rovina is passionate about creating images that compliment and enrich the stories they illustrate, turning books into beautiful objects where the words and images work together to create a more immersive reading experience. She also believes that one of the most valuable things an illustrator can offer is their unique and personal perspective, and has meticulously crafted her distinctive style to reflect this.
Rovina holds an MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Her work has been recognised with multiple awards, including two World Fantasy Awards, three gold medals from Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, and most recently a Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist.
In her spare time, she likes to sketch in museums, and try out different hobbies in an attempt to find the one definitive hobby that she can put in her bio.
Marcelo & Richard
Coraline has been wonderfully illustrated over the years, and around the world, many times. Very early on, we decided to steer as far away from the button motif as possible as this had already been done with pretty much every previous edition. Before Rovina started work, we put together the format of the book, showing her the page count and how the text sat so she could have an idea of what was going on in the story and then work out her initial sketches. This early layout also had images of plates from her previous work and how the idea of silhouettes in two colours could operate. One of the images was of a key attached to a red thread. Rovina then took that idea and ran – no – sprinted with it!
Rovina said: “I think it might be fun to have this idea of a red thread that runs through the entire book. So, all of the illustrations have a red line running through them, and all the decorative spots will be thread as well. This links all of the images together and in the last illustration we see that the thread is attached to the key… Obviously, the thread would also be a reference to sewing and buttons”. This quickly became the visual theme and central motif of the book and a great way to separate our edition from the others.
The thread is described as black in the book but we knew we needed this different colour as the silhouettes would be black too. It just wouldn’t work otherwise. We asked Neil if we might be able to change the description of the black thread to red so we could have the image contrast. He agreed we could change his text and said: “I like it very much. I think rather than be polite, we should call it ‘CORALINE: The Red Thread Edition’ and lean into the fact that this is the only edition in which the thread is red and not black”.
The fact that Neil let us do such a major thing for our little limited edition is incredibly special and so, when it came time to design the bindings, we wanted to lean heavily into this red thread idea across all of the editions. Rich had also been speaking with Freya Scott (Paperwilds) for a few years about trying marbled leather and we set about working out how to do something wispy and ‘mist-like’ for the lettered edition. This would be a reference to the misty illustrations in the early part of the book. What she has created is quite wonderful and very different from anything we’ve ever seen before. The beauty of marbling is that no two books will be the same. The marbled paper Freya has also created for the lettered portfolio and for the numbered slipcase follows the mist idea with a black-on-black marbling design, which gives a very subtle pattern. The marbled paper she designed for the Standard edition is inspired by the pattern on one of the colour plates inside the book (the Other Mother coming through the mirror).
This is a children’s book, but it is also a horror story. The design needed to be something that works for both, as well as being contemporary in nature. There is nothing more striking than high contrast design and, more than anything, the contrast of white, red and black which echoes the colour scheme of the silhouettes. And a touch of gold never goes amiss!
Marcelo Anciano & Richard Tong