We’re very excited to be publishing some truly brilliant titles on World Book Day! So excited, in fact, that we have a brilliant competition for you – for a chance to win all four books, simply tweet to @MacLehosePress or comment on our Facebook Page to tell us which you’re most excited about.
Front and centre, we’re enormously excited to be publishing IRÈNE, the prequel to Pierre Lemaitre’s bestselling ALEX, which sees Camille Verhoeven facing a brutal killer, who seems to be basing his crimes on classic crime novels. Naturally we think all our books are brilliant, but even we’ve been bowled over by the enthusiasm of the early reviews for IRÈNE: Sarah Ward at Crimepieces described it as “truly wonderful. It’s easily shaping up to be my book of the year,” while Matthew Craig at Reader Dad was even more enthusiastic: “Sheer genius that will leave the reader, jaw slack in admiration, realising that as well as penning a love letter to the genre, Lemaitre has set out to prove that he can go one better than anything that has gone before, and succeeds with verve . . . While Alex received critical acclaim on its release last year, Irène, Pierre Lemaitre’s first novel, will be the book that people will remember in years to come.” Buy it now here!
But obviously, such grisly drama is not for everyone, and our other new hardback is perfect for those of a calmer persuasion. AND THEN CAME PAULETTE tells the story of an elderly grandfather, Ferdinand, left alone on his farm when his family finally move out. However Ferdinand’s solitude is short-lived – soon he begins to realise he’s not the only one in need of company. A runaway bestseller in France, this is a charming book that’s perfect for fans of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Jean De Florettes or The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared. Buy it now here.
We also have two wonderful new paperbacks out today. If you’ve never read a book in Welsh before, Cywilydd ar chi! Luckily, your moment has arrived, with Angharad Price’s THE LIFE OF REBECCA JONES. This wonderful semi-autobiographical novel of life in the Welsh valleys has an astonishing 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and the critics agree too: Boyd Tonkin in The Independent described it as “A peak of modern British writing”. Get your hands on a copy here.
And, last but by no means least, we have OUTSIDERS, a collection of short Italian fiction that had no less than two stories shortlisted for the C.W.A. Short Story Dagger last year. With stories from the likes of Roberto Saviano (author of Gomorrah, the inspiration for the Cannes-lauded film) and Carlo Lucarelli, the stories centre around those on the fringes of society, whether they be recently returned Afghanistan veterans or humble cheese-makers. And, not to brag, it’s the first in a series that will soon feature the most exciting translated short fiction event of the decade: the meeting of Andrea Camilleri and the MacLehose Press . . . Buy it here!
Excited yet? Now hop over to Twitter (@MacLehosePress) or comment on our Facebook Page to tell us which you’re most excited about before midnight next Thursday 13th March, and we’ll draw the winner on Friday and send them the books.
We’re excited to be able to tell you that the brilliant Sergio De La Pava is making his first literary appearances in London this weekend, ahead of the Folio Prize announcement on Monday 10th March.
Sergio, author of A NAKED SINGULARITY (shortlisted for the Folio Prize, and winner of the enormously prestigious PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize in America) will be speaking at two events on Sunday 9th at the inaugural Folio Literary Festival, to be held at the British Library. As followers of our YouTube channel will know, Sergio is a brilliant and intelligent speaker, and these rare chances to see him action are not to be missed.
Firstly Sergio will be appearing at 13.45 in a panel discussion titled “On Structure”, alongside an enormously appealing panel. Sergio’s co-speakers will be A.S. Byatt, winner of the Man Booker Prize for POSSESSION; Sarah Hall, listed last year by Granta is one of “Best of Young British Novelists”; and Sam Leith, author and former Literary Editor of the Daily Telegraph. Tickets cost a mere £8 (cheaper for concessions), and are available now.
Then, between 15.45 and 16.45, Sergio will be in the Manuscripts Reading Room, reading an extract from the book and answering questions alongside fellow shortlisted authors Eimear McBride (author of the Samuel Beckett Prizewinner A GIRL IS A HALF-FORMED THING) and the critically-acclaimed George Saunders. Entry for this event is absolutely free, but entry will be assigned on a first come first served basis so it will pay to be on time.
There is a full programme of events over the weekend featuring the shortlisted authors and numerous other luminaries including Sebastian Faulks and Mark Haddon, ahead of the prize announcement on Monday night.
This month saw the paperback release of Murray Bail’s The Voyage, a novel that it’s fair to say has drawn near-universal critical acclaim. Kate Saunders in The Times called it “stylish without self-indulgence,” Nicholas Shakespeare acclaimed it in the Telegraph as “sexy, and hugely enjoyable,” while Eileen Battersby in the Irish Times was perhaps the most enthusiastic, writing “If ever a novel could be said to exceed the sum of its many sensations, this masterful concoction engages, excites and perturbs with singular virtuosity”
Read on for an extract from this contemporary masterpiece, or purchase it right now!
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It’s best not to release thoughts immediately. Isn’t it best to pause? An added benefit is that it gives the impression the person is being thoughtful, accordingly someone worth listening to.
It was one of those sensible conclusions he had reached long ago, but hardly ever put into practice.
Frank Delage carried around a notebook for jotting down things he had read or heard, the way some people pick up cigarette butts, they could end up being useful one day, not only maxims, although most of them were, unusual phrases, descriptions too, he liked the sound of single words. A green fountain pen protruded at the ready from his shirt pocket, which also pointed to energy, a range of set tasks to be tackled. “Let me see,” Elisabeth, of the von Schalla family, said, and began flipping through the pages. “The human face is the most interesting area on earth” – one of his favourites. He had forgotten where he’d come across that one. “Thinking remains thanking.” Somewhere else he’d picked up a description of a rubber-band “the colour of a nun’s belly”, which he had immediately written down, even though it didn’t give any advice at all . . .
The Voyage by Murray Bail
Frank Delage, a middle-aged Australian, arrives in Vienna with the most daring of propositions. He has invented a revolutionary piano and means to market it to the grand old world of classical music. A chance meeting with one Amalia von Schalla brings new possibilities – a soirée, an introduction to her daughter Elisabeth, dinner with an avant-garde composer.
But when the sheer audacity of his campaign dawns on him, he takes a slow boat home to the southern hemisphere. As it meanders through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, he is afforded ample time to reflect on tensions between the old world and the new. And, for all his travails, he is not going home empty-handed…
Amazon ¦ Waterstones ¦ MacLehose Press ¦ The Hive
Happy Valentine’s Day book lovers!
In this week’s second most exciting MacLehose news, we’re delighted to tell you that The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry is this week’s selection in the Waterstones Book Club.
[Listen the Waterstones podcast about the book here!]
To celebrate this momentous news, we have a very exciting Valentine’s themed competition. For the chance to win one of three pairs of copies of the book (one for you, and one for your Valentine, see…), all we need you to do is comment below with your literary crush: a fictional character for whom you’ve fallen head over heels. The three entries that thaw our cold loveless hearts the most win the prize.
And if you need inspiration, we asked around the Quercus/MacLehose offices, and persuaded some lovestruck colleagues to share their fictional heartthrobs . . .
- “I’m not sure I should admit that my literary crush is Uncas from James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans; hardly an example of good characterisation, essentially he’s just Cooper’s romanticised image of the noble savage. That said, as a teen (perhaps reading it now I’d feel differently!), how could you fail to fall for the epitome of the strong silent type? He’s proud, powerful and only softens when he falls for Cora. The fact that he loves the stoic, intelligent sister over blonde, forever-swooning Alice no doubts adds to the attraction – and then he dies trying to save her! What’s not to love?”
- “I’ve always thought Edward Casaubon, one of the main characters in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, was more deserving of sympathy and empathy. Casaubon is a rather tragic creature, his abortive Key to All Mythologies, is destined never to be completed; and his emotionally frigid attitude to his new wife is harrowingly self-harming. But, for all this, Casaubon has a scholar’s passion! A fire burns in him: the key to ALL mythologies! Casaubon wants to understand it all, and I was profoundly moved by his desire for impossible answers . . .”
- “Literary crush? I’ve had far too many, but I’ll give you one from my younger years which is a real gem. I remember him vividly, with his devil-may-care smile and his reckless adventurous spirit- Dean Moriarty was the one for me. I was the least rebellious teenager to have ever walked the corridors of my high school and On the Road was my means of living vicariously through the adventures of an alcoholic author and his carefree friend. Certainly not dating material but nothing short of perfect to fifteen-year-old me.”
- “I’m rather promiscuous as a literary crusher, but the current object of my fictional affection is Sophie Gottlieb, from Andres Neuman’s Traveller of the Century. Of course it’s largely because she’s unobtainable and wonderful and witty and pretty, but it’s actually because of the way she and Hans communicate across a room with a flick of an eyebrow, falling in love in a space of an impeccably positioned comma. *Sighs*”
So there you have it; let us know the object of your affections in the comments section for a chance to win, and while you’re at it why not share it on Facebook or Twitter, with the hashtag #LiteraryCrush? You could even tweet it at your one true love . . .
Competition closes at midnight on Thursday 20th February, winners announced on Friday 21st.
[Image courtesy of Icely88]
As you’ll no doubt be aware, this Friday is Valentine’s Day. If you’re the kind of person who frequents the MacLehose Press Blog, you’ll surely agree that the best possible present for your beloved is a book, and serendipitously you’ve wound up on a page with some bespoke romantic suggestions. Hurrah!
(Of course, some of us are loveless, bitter and alone, so it wouldn’t be fair not to include some anti-Valentines choices too…)
For the lovers
The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry (translated by Sian Reynolds) – If your special someone is a book lover, what better gift than this beautiful little masterpiece, narrated by a librarian who has rather a lot to get off her chest. Equally eloquent on love, literature and the Dewey Decimal System, this is one to cherish.
Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer (translated by Jamie Bulloch and Katharina Bielenberg) – One of the bestselling romances in the world since the turn of the Millennium, this digital will-they-won’t-this tells the witty and charming story of Emmi and Leo, and their e-mail romance. Especially perfect for the internet-dating Valentine – you could practically use it as a conversation starter on Tinder.
Someday We’ll Tell Each Other Everything by Daniela Krien (translated by Jamie Bulloch) – If you ever doubted, momentarily of course, that East Germany in the early 1990s was a romantic setting, this will prove you wrong. A coming-of-age tale of forbidden love, Daniela Krien captures the powerlessness of falling deeply in love with wonderful skill.
For the haters
Alex by Pierre Lemaitre (translated by Frank Wynne) – Pierre Lemaitre is a writer of many and varied gifts, a bestseller and an award winner, so it’s fitting that this astonishing English language debut is the perfect anti-Valentines treat for two very different reasons. Firstly, the plot twists are so wickedly clever you’ll completely forget to mope. Secondly, there’s nothing so cathartic for a lonely soul as sadistically decadent revenge . . .
Where I Left My Soul by Jérôme Ferrari (translated by Geoffrey Strachan) – Yet another Prix Goncourt-winning author, this searing novel about torture and damnation in Algeria is widely regarded as brilliant, and is possibly the perfect tonic for “your friend” who’s always going on about how tortured he feels by unrequited love . . .
A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava – Just in case you aren’t feeling all that bitter, and just want to read a Folio Prize-shortlisted, PEN Pinter award-winning, critically celebrated masterpiece.
We’re delighted to be able to say that A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava has been shortlisted for the inaugural Folio Prize, as announced this morning at the British Library.
Buy your copy of A Naked Singularity now.
Lavinia Greenlaw, chair of judges, praised the novel for “detonating syntax”, and commented more broadly on the striking originality of all the shortlisted novels, saying the list represented “the ingenious and dazzling results of form under exquisite pressure”.
As has already been documented, De La Pava’s novel has had perhaps the most unlikely route to success of the eight books in contention for the award. Originally self-published, it rose to fame after steadily gaining support from literary bloggers, before the University of Chicago Press published it in 2012 to overwhelming acclaim, and eventually won the PEN Pinter Prize.
The novel is narrated by Casi, a New York public defender, tempted to commit a perfect crime, while simultaneously battling to save a mentally ill prisoner on death row. Along the way the novel digresses into a wonderful cornucopia of topics, all held together by Casi’s utterly astonishing narrative voice.
A Naked Singularity is joined on the shortlist by novels from George Saunders, Eimear McBride, Jane Gardam and Rachel Kushner. The full list is below.
A Naked Singularity – Sergio De La Pava
A Girl is a Half Formed Thing – Eimear McBride
Last Friends – Jane Gardam
Red Doc – Anne Carson
The Flamethrowers – Rachel Kushner
Schroder – Amity Gaige
Benediction – Kent Haruf
Tenth of December – George Saunders
And if you’re still not convinced, read Quercus editor Katie Gordon on why it was her book of the year in 2013.
Wonderful article in BookBrunch yesterday on Timur Vermes’s “audacious German bestseller” Look Who’s Back:
In mid-January, a somewhat unusual email popped up in the inboxes of book trade people across Britain. My Volk, it began,
In 2011, I found myself alive and well in Berlin with no Reich Chancellery and no Führerbunker. The city which now lay before me was quite different from the one I remembered from 1945, yet I was, more or less, the same – once I got everything back to the way it should be.
As luck would have it I met some television executives, including my soon-to-be right-hand man Sawatzki, and the rest – as they say – is history. I now have my own television show, which is a ratings hit. Important moments in history must be recorded for posterity; to that end I have compiled my astute observations in a book which I have called Look Who’s Back. I am not too modest to say it has been a phenomenal success in the Fatherland. Now it is your turn to show me what you can do. Make me proud!
There was a PS directing readers to a video.
It is of course all part of the campaign for Timur Vermes’ audacious debut novel Look Who’s Back, which made news back last year when Katharina Bielenberg acquired it for MacLehose Press. In Germany, where Hitler is (let’s say) a particularly sensitive subject, the review pages were a little slow off the mark, but they were quick to pick up when word-of-mouth propelled the novel into the bestseller lists.
We’re publishing Look Who’s Back here in the UK on the 3rd April! Can’t wait? Neither can we!
(Whole article is over at BookBrunch, but you’ll need to subscribe!)
News just in: The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair has surged to the top of the Dutch charts this week, taking the number one slot four weeks after publication. Coming just a few days after the Daily Telegraph in the UK proclaimed it as “maybe the cleverest, creepiest book you’ll read this year”, the news means The Netherlands now joins France, Italy, Spain and Germany as territories where Joël Dicker’s magnificent novel has been a bestseller, ahead of publication in the UK in May.
And the Dutch media have not been shy in showing their support for the novel, which proved Europe’s publishing sensation of 2013, selling more than 2 million copies. Some particularly glowing quotes are below!
“Packed full of action, psychological drama and advice for young writers . . . A book full of suspense . . . The author brings to life every inch of the Hopper-esque town, from the diner where Quebert has his table to the Sheriff’s office, from the neighbors to the shopkeepers. Everyone has their sins, their obsessions, and secrets they’d rather take to their graves” –NRC Handelsblad
“A story that evokes the journalistic method of Truman Capote, a Donna Tartt murder mystery and the romantic scandal of Nabakov’s Lolita” –NRC NEXT
“Joël Dicker, winner of the Prix Tulipe, overwhelms his readers. Wonderful dialogue, colourful characters, breathtaking twists and a plot that allows no pause for breath . . . all is perfectly weaved together to create an irresistible story in which absolutely nothing is as it seems –Trouw
“Captivating and enchanting, The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair is a true literary adventure” –Algemeen Dagblad
“Dicker writes a story full of such intelligence and subtlety that you can only regret the fact it comes to an end. A novel that works on so many levels: a crime story, a love story, a comedy of manners, but equally an incisive critique of the art of the modern author.” –Elsevier
“Dicker is one of that rare breed of authors, who knows how to captivate the reader and not release them until the very last page. A page turner that’s a little French, but above American” –De Standaard
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MacLehose Press is a determinedly international imprint, so it was with some delight that we can report on Otto de Kat, author of News from Berlin, visiting the Jaipur Literature Festival last week, where he spoke alongside the likes of Jim Crace, Anthony Beevor, Tash Aw, Justin Cartwright and Philip Hensher.
Otto participated in two discussions: The Art of Historical Novel and The Literature of War and Revolution. Both were lively and attended by upwards of 1,000 people, a not uncommon crowd at Asia’s largest literary festival.
The panel discussing the historical novel were particularly interested in the role of the imagination in reconstructing a fictionalised past, and how this interacted with historical veracity. Otto came down on the side of the imagination, saying that his method is to research the facts, but then to do all he can to forget them when he comes to write. He commented that “to an author, history is much like a butler serving in the right place at the right time.”
There was more consensus in the War Fiction event, where the participants discussed texts which had influenced them. Otto spoke powerfully about non-fictional accounts of war, such as Anne Frank’s diary, and also commented on the way that the First World War inspired many soldiers to become poets, turning to literary form to come to terms with their experiences.
Both talks relate very closely to News from Berlin, Otto’s most recent novel, which is steadily gathering critical acclaim from across the media. Kathy Stevenson in the Daily Mail praised the novel as “a masterclass in how less can be more, packed full of atmosphere, emotion and philosophical debate.” Meanwhile Lucy Popescu, writing in the Independent on Sunday, judged it “a compelling portrait of love, loss and regret.”
Perhaps the most enthusiastic praise came from Roger Cox in Scotland on Sunday. He argues that the novel “contrives to feel like a sweeping epic, even though it’s barely more than 200 pages long,” and that it has “enough material for a 12-part TV miniseries”. In conclusion, he names de Kat a “master of the impressionistic literary brush stroke” whose characters “positively leap off the page”. “De Kat,” he says, “can break your heart in 200 words, never mind 200 pages.”
We are delighted to announce that production is underway on an American film adaptation of Pierre Lemaitre’s internationally bestselling thriller Alex, directed and produced by James B. Harris, and co-written by Lemaitre himself.
The film, produced by Elberon Entertainment, will be shot in Paris this autumn, after Lemaitre won over the producers, who had initially considered transporting the story to the United States. A “very high level” cast has been promised, with all details yet to be confirmed; the role of Alex Prévost is likely to be played by a French actress.
Lemaitre, who has written screenplays in French before, told journalists: “Generally, filmmakers do not like working with novelists as writers often do not want to change a comma, but as I myself wrote several screenplays, I’m more open.” He also confessed to being “amazed” by the dynamism of James B. Harris, who is 85.
Harris is a veteran figure in Hollywood, with extensive credits as a writer, director and producer, working exclusively in the noir genre. He worked with Stanley Kubrick on three films, including “Lolita” (1962), and most recently produced “The Black Dahlia” (2006), starring Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank.
Irène, a prequel to Alex and the second book in a trilogy of novels featuring Camille Verhœven, will be released on March 6th.