Occasionally, in the words of London agent Darley Anderson, it's still possible to make "a good, old-fashioned Frankfurt deal—pre-scouts, pre-e-mail," like the one he made over ice cream at the Simon & Schuster stand with Pocket Books publisher Judith Curr. It was one in which Curr bought U.S. rights to a book, already taken by Heinemann in London, that no U.S. publisher had seen up to then: The Cat and the Tao, a mix of paintings and Chinese wisdom assembled by Chinese artist Kwong Kuen Shan. He might, said Anderson, have given Curr a floor and opened the bidding to other publishers in New York, but was so impressed by her "enthusiasm and ambitions for the book" that he gave her a preempt for $100,000—"a complete justification for her trip." Anderson's big book for the fair, however, is one he will be bringing over personally soon to show around in New York. It's a first novel he plucked from his slush pile, called The Rice Mother by a Malaysian-born Londoner, Rani Manicka, and it set off a flurry of strong foreign interest after it was bought at auction, for nearly half a million, by Sue Fletcher at Hodder. This generational saga of life in Malaysia (then Malaya) before, during and after the Japanese invasion of WWII, has already sold in nine countries.
Volume 248 Issue 43 10/22/2001