Friday, November 15, 2013

big books, big bucks

From: Collectors Weekly

"Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch has 771 pages. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize, is 834 pages long. And then there is City on Fire, the 900-page debut novel that took the publishing industry by storm last week.
     It was even more evidence that the long novel is experiencing a resurgence, as a dozen publishers competed for the rights to release the book, set in New York City in the 1970s. City on Fire was written by Garth Risk Hallberg, a 34-year-old who has contributed to The New York Times Book Review and The Millions. Publishers who had a copy of the manuscript — and said they could concentrate on little else until they had finished reading it — rapturously compared it to work by Michael Chabon and Thomas Pynchon.
     The book drew an advance that is highly unusual for a debut novel. In a two-day bidding war, 10 publishers bid more than $1 million. Knopf emerged the victor, paying close to $2 million, said two people familiar with the negotiations.
     Before the acquisition, Diana Miller, an editor at Knopf, wrote Chris Parris-Lamb, Mr. Hallberg’s agent, an email praising the book, saying it was 'off the charts in its ambition, its powers of observation, its ability to be at once intellectual and emotionally generous.'”
— Julie Bosman, The New York Times
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