The cover has just been revealed for Jerusalem, Alan Moore’s long, long brewing novel about 6000 years in the life of his hometown Northhampton. There’s a good reason writing it took so long. it’s one million words long, longer than Moby Dick, longer than Lord of the Rings, longer than the Bible. It’s TWICE AS LONG as these behemoths. It’s Moore’ second novel after Voice of The Fire from 1996, and he considers it one of his life’s works. The book will be published in the UK by Knockabout and in the US by Livewright. A staple of the non-controversial portions of Moore interviews for over a decade, Jerusalem has chapters written in various styles from penny dreadful to a Sound and the Fury juorney through th emind of a madwoman. From a 2015 interview with Padraig O Mealoid (whom I’m told has another monster interview with Moore on tap):
I’ll probably be fed up of typing ‘cause I’ve been doing it since nine o’clock this morning, so I shall probably do a few more stanzas of the latest chapter of Jerusalem, which I’m doing, for some unknown reason, I’m doing it entirely in verse. It’s going to be ninety stanzas of six lines each in totality, and I’ve just finished stanza fifty the other night, so I’ll probably do another couple of them, just to keep that ticking over while I’m doing Providence.
PÓM: Actually, no, I’ll come back to Jerusalem in a minute – no, I’ll tell you what, tell me now! How is Jerusalem getting on? Howe close are we… How close am I to getting a copy in my hands?
AM: Well, it’s really really close. I’m on chapter 33 out of 35. I am more than halfway through chapter 33. I’ll tell you what, man, I deliberated and dithered for a long time on chapter 33. I have this final third of Jerusalem – it’s divided roughly into three sections – well, it’s divided precisely into three sections – but this final third, when I started it, I thought, I am already completely exhausted with this book. I’ve been doing it for years, I am exhausted. The most terrible thing that could happen is that that exhaustion shows in the finished book, because then it’s there for all time, marring the work, so I thought that the best way to avoid that would be to make this third section of the book really really really difficult for meself, by adopting a different style, a different voice, a whole different form, for each chapter, if necessary. So, I’ve been doing my, I’ve done me Lucia Joyce chapter[.]
If you’re wondering about the art aspect of the cover–which appears to show the corner of Moore’s house that the 6000 year narrative spans, rather in the fashion of Richard McGuire’s Here and Chris Ware’s Building Stories–like Grant Morrison, Brian Bendis and many other a scribe, Moore started out hs career with artistic intentions, and drew the comic strip Maxwell the Magic Cat for a while. So a return to form, as it were. In my ending is my beginning. I have a copy of Jerusalem which I have been tasked to read. It may take me a week, a month, a lifetime. Developing.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.