A novel that is in fact a fictionalized memoir about an Indian woman's family searching for a husband for her has turned into an auction winner on both sides of the Atlantic, bringing quarter-million-dollar bids in New York and London. The book is For Matrimonial Purposes, and author Kavita Daswani, a fashion journalist now living in California, experienced it all: the anxious search via matchmakers for an appropriate man at home and then, after her move to study in the U.S., her family's horrified rejection of the idea of an American husband. Coast agent Jodie Rhodes conducted the simultaneous auctions, in which Jennifer Hershey at Penguin Putnam was the winner here, while Susan Watt won for HarperCollins in London; Broadway and Macmillan were the respective underbidders. The book was preempted in the Netherlands, and Rhodes has had numerous European offers; co-agent Jenny Meyer will be discussing them in Frankfurt. One fascinating footnote: there was some discussion with the interested editors about whether to market the book as novel or memoir. The editors were divided, but the marketing people all plumped for fiction. Of course, they won.
Volume 249 Issue 40 10/07/2002