I’ve just started reading “The Anxiety Of Kalix The Werewolf” the third book in Martin Millar’s Kalix MacRinnalch trilogy.
When the third book, “The Anxiety Of Kalix The Werewolf” came out, I immediately bought a copy. I’ve been carrying it around ever since but haven’t read it. By then I’d moved mostly to audiobooks (inexplicably, none of the Kalix books has an audio version) and I was travelling a lot and toting a 700+ page paperback with me wasn’t going to happen. I’ve recently moved country and came across the book when i unpacked. It was still daunting to carry around so I bought the ebook version, which I’ve just started and which is a lot of fun.
Anyway, while I was searching for the ebook version of Kalix 3, I took a look at all the editions of the series that are out there and was amused at how Kalix’s face changes according to the market she’s being sold to.
In the beginning, the books were marketed with an indy-Punk style (which matches the tone of the text pretty well and they looked like this.
I rather like this primitive and mysterious look. As the books were pushed to a more mainstream market, the book covers became more polished and Kalix looked like this:
These are the versions I own (apart from the one on the bottom right which seems to be an alternative edition). The high-definition full-page images made these covers stand out on the shelves. I liked the way they progress from an almost standard horror look to something softer and more intriguing. I think the first set of covers catch the very thin, very anxious feel of Kalix best but the second set were the ones that tempted me to buy.
Kalix’s look changes again when the French, Italian, and German versions of the books came out:
The top two are Italian. The one on the left is a very generic hooded woman with wolf eyes and Big Ben in the background. The title has been shortened from “Lonely Werewolf Girl” to “Girl Wolf”. I like the sound of girl wolf but I wonder why they left the “Lonely” part out. The one on the right has a much more Kalix-like image on it, The title change is interesting. The main title is “Vex and Kalix” and the subtitle is “The Curse Of The Wolf Girls”. Vex is a fire spirit, not a werewolf, yet she’s given top billing. Could that be because she loves to party and worships fashion? Anxiety is completely banished from the title. Maybe anxious werewolves aren’t sexy?
The bottom left is French. The title is “The Lonely Werewolf”. The artwork is classic French BD work and very striking but to me it looks like a woman, not a girl and suggests vampire rather than werewolf.
The other two are German. The first one has a very generic look to it and the rather surprising title of “Kalix Werewolf Of London”. It’s true that much of the book is set in London but Kalix and her clan are Scots. Perhaps the idea of selling a lonely Scottish werewolf wasn’t as attractive as pinging off the title of an old movie? The second cover is more arty and original and the title is, “Kalix, Curse Of The Werewolves” which makes all the werewolves sound cursed and/or makes Kalix into their curse.. I like the energy of this cover. The hair colour is odd, only because one of Kalix’s sisters, Delix, actually has blue hair.
The final two covers I found are Greek and Chinese. The Greek cover has a pretty woman with eyes that hint at her werewolf nature. She’s probably too full in the face to be the always-too-thin Kalix of the book. The title (according to Google) becomes “Kalix – Werewolf Woman”. Again no mention of being lonely. The Chinese cover has turned Kalix into some kind of sub-Disney Princess and title (again according to Google) is “Girl Betrayed By The Moon” which sound sort of romantic is a tragic kind of way.
I love these kinds of mutations. Martin Millar provides the text and it never changes but what we imagine from the text when we read it or translate it has almost endless possibilities.