Wednesday, July 09, 2008


THE SISTER
OR
THE BEHAVIOUR OF MOTHS

Following yesterday's story from The New York Times about Poppy Adam's book,The Sister, New Zealand authors Nicky Pellegrino and Rachael King have both contacted me to say that this title is published in the UK as The Behaviour of Moths.

My thanks to them both. Nicky Pellegrino is going to interview Poppy Adams by telephone so I guess we can look forward to a story in the Herald on Sunday where Pellegrino is the books editor.
I always find it somewhat odd when publishers change the titles of books already published under another name. UK and US publishers do it to each other's titles often. I recall some years ago when Scholastic NZ published William Taylor's Possum Perkins which their US parent company then published as Paradise Lane. But name changes happen frequently across the Atlantic.

6 comments:

Rachael King said...

Yes, it does seem to happen quite often. Two examples I can think of: Sarah Hall's The Carhullan Army, which was changed to Daughters of the North (I think I like that title better - easier to spell, which was probably the point); and Catherine Chidgey's Golden Deeds changed to The Strength of the Sun.

I think The Sister is a rather drab title, but I guess they thought the original one sounds too much like a non-fiction text book (from the sounds of it though, it sums up the themes nicely).

i look forward to Nicky's interview.

Penny S said...

Indeed it does. Three that spring to my mind are Scholastic NZ's awardwinning picture book 'Oliver in the Garden' (Margaret Beames/Sue Hitchcock, which became 'Goodnight Cat'; Sherryl Jordan's 'Rocco', which turned into 'A Time of Darkness' and Joy Cowley's short story collection 'Beyond the River', which morphed into 'The Hitchhikers', all when published by Scholastic US.

Keri Hulme said...

Getting outside of English per se -
'Unter Dem Tagmond' & 'Kerewin' both apply to translations of a book of mine. I was informed by translators that 'bone people' can be translated as
'leg men' or other indecorous suggestions-

Iain Sharp said...

Two of the more extraordinary changes I know of are Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie, which published in the US as The Edge of Day, and John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes, which was retitled for American readers Out of the Deeps.
Rohinton Mistry's first collection of stories was titled Tales from Firozha Baag in the UK and the Commonwealth but Swimming Lessons in the US.
Nearer home, Catherine Chidgey's second novel Golden Deeds was retitled The Strength of the Sun in the US.

In 2003 Bill Cooke, who lectures in the School of Visual Arts at Massey University's Auckland campus, published a book titled The Blasphemy Depot: A Hundred Years of the Rationalist Press Association when published in the UK by the RPA itself but redubbed The Gathering of the Infidels when taken up by Prometheus Books in the US.

The Brits aren't averse to changing titles either. New York humorist Ayun Halliday's book about motherhood The Big Rumpus became Mama Lama Ding Dong in the UK.

NZBookgirl said...

And why have HarperCollins released Elizabeth Knox's Dreamquake and Dreamhunter as The Invisible Road?

Gilly T said...

Behavior of Moths is more intriguing than The Sister - what were they thinking? And add My Year of Meat/Meats by Ruth Ozeki to the growing list. Meat (UK), Meats (US); go figure.