Isn't it beautiful?
The cover depicts a brooch by René Lalique, depicted in the novel at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris:
[...] a large ornament, in the form of a turquoise woman's bust rising out of the mouth of a long, long dragonfly, its narrowing gold body studded with shimmering blue and green jewels at regular intervals, diminishing to a tiny sharp gilt fork at the base. The woman's head was crowned with an ornament which was helm, or a split scarab, or the insect eyes of the metamorphosing being. From her shoulders hung what were at once stiff, spreading sleeves, and the realistic wings of the dragonfly, made in the new, transparent, unbacked enamel, veined in gold, studded with roundels of turquoise and crystals. The beast had huge dragon-like claws, stretching either side of the womanhead, on gold muscular arms.
I'm lucky enough both to have a review a copy and to be seeing A.S. Byatt next week at the 11th Blue Metropolis Montreal International Literary Festival.
I've passed the novel's halfway mark, and I can't tell you how badly I've wished this week that I didn't have a day job so as to have been able to make more progress. Sigh. The book, thus far, is amazing.
If anyone has any ideas regarding intelligent questions I might ask the author, assuming the opportunity presents itself at next week's event, please leave a comment to that effect. I anticipate being at a loss for (my own) words.
The Children's Book is available April 21, 2009. A reader's guide is available now.