Bastard Out of Istanbul
Orhan Pamuk's recent success (his latest novel, Snow, was named one of the 10 Best Books of 2004 by the New York Times; a subsequent memoir, Istanbul: Memories and the City hit the Times list for a week this summer), not to mention the controversy and forthcoming trial over recent comments he made about the 1915 Armenian genocide (PW, Oct. 3), has helped raise the profile of Turkish literature in this country. Now Turkish novelist Elif Shafak will take on her country's violent past in her second English-language novel, titled The Bastard of Istanbul; Paul Slovak at Viking acquired North American rights from agent Marly Rusoff in a preemptive offer. The novel tells the tale of an exiled Armenian clan living in San Francisco and a family in Istanbul, whose contemporary stories conjoin through a secret stemming from the 1915 atrocities that plays out in the lives of their daughters today. Shafak's first English-language novel, The Saint of Incipient Insanities, was published by FSG last year; the editor of that book, John Glusman, has since departed. Shafak divides her time between Istanbul and Tucson, where she is an assistant professor at the University of Arizona. Publication is expected in early 2007.
David Matthews, the son of a black man and white, Jewish mother who abandoned him at birth, grew up on the streets of Baltimore, where he was able to pass as either black or Jewish as a child and young man. Now a 30-something Brooklyn resident who has spent the last few years writing screenplays and tending bar, he will tell the story of his life on the streets on both sides of America's color line, as well as of his search for his mother. The memoir, Ace of Spades, was acquired by Holt's Vanessa Mobley, who took North American rights from ICM's Kate Lee; the book will be published in winter 2007.
First Novel to Riverhead
PJ Mark at McCormick & Williams sold North American rights, at auction, to a first novel called Children of the Revolution by Dinaw Mengestu to Riverhead's Megan Lynch. Through the story of a refugee Ethiopian grocery-store owner in Washington, D.C., Mengestu explores the immigrant experience of America. Mengestu, who was born in Ethiopia in 1978, holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia and is a frequent book reviewer for PW; he is currently working on a nonfiction book tracing his extended family's exile from Ethiopia during the 1974 revolution.
In another deal for a first-timer, Daniel Lazar at Writers House sold a proposal at auction for a memoir by Theo Pauline Nestor titled How to Sleep Alone in a King Size Bed to Rachel Klayman at Crown. Based on an essay the author wrote for the New York Times about her recent divorce, the book will combine Nestor's own story with the history of divorce in her family as well as a larger exploration of divorce in our culture today. Klayman acquired North American rights; a publication date has not yet been set.
William Morrow's Claire Wachtel acquired Mystic River author Dennis Lehane's latest, a collection of five stories and a play, from agent Ann Rittenberg; the play, Coronado, will have its world premiere in New York in late November.... Crown's Shana Drehs bought North American rights to ICM talent agent Margaret Marr's debut novel, Hollywood Girls Club, in a "significant two-book deal" from Andrea Barzvi, also at ICM.