Unveiling the Cover

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This article examines how publishing houses use book covers to market novels by female writers of Arab descent. In particular, a close examination of the covers of Pillars of Salt (1996), a novel by Jordanian-British author Fadia Faqir, and The Blue between Sky and Water (2015), a novel by Palestinian-American writer Susan Abulhawa, shows that Oriental exoticism and stereotypes about Arabs are employed to market these novels and increase sales. The covers of the novels give the impressions of faceless women, dancers, hijab, refugee girls, and a desert as well as references to The Arabian Nights. All these Orientalist images are used to boost the marketability of the novels. This study also makes use of Hans Robert Jauss’ and Wolfgang Iser’s Reception Theory, namely Jauss’ concept of the “horizon of expectation.”