When my daughter was little she loved to share the reading pleasure of The Tiger-Skin Rug by Gerald Rose. By that time, in the late 80’s, the book was already over 10 years old. With beautiful art and a cheeky and irreverent story that emphasises the importance of loyalty and finding one’s place in a family, it felt like a classic and gave us hours and hours of pleasure.
When my daughter was 21 I wanted to give her a copy for her birthday and to my interest and dismay I found out it was out of print. At that time, working for Bloomsbury Publishing, I set off in search of Gerald and wrote to an address kindly given to me by the indomitable Klaus Flugge. I waited, and after about a month I got a letter from someone saying that they had bought the house from the Roses several years before but they did have a forwarding address which they also shared with me. My next letter was answered very quickly by Gerald who thankfully hadn’t moved again and we met and talked about bringing the wonderful book back into print.
We looked at the format and a couple of the internal spreads, as well as the jacket, to give the book a fresh appeal and in 2011 this wonderful book found itself back on to the shelves of bookshops and homes. In the Strand (@strandbookstore) in New York I was delighted to see the book, and now my grandson has started to enjoy sharing this wonderful book with his parents.
Good literature last and outlasts trends and fashion and finds its way into the hearts of each new generation. As long as publishers are prepared to ensure the books are made available and are prepared to take a risk on something that doesn’t obviously tick the ‘best-seller’ boxes of the day. There is space in the world for individual and unique voices, they have to be supported and nurtured and talked about. But then, it is never a hardship to celebrate stories we love.