Want to know what titles are creating chatter internationally? Every two weeks, we'll be rounding up titles and book deals that are getting attention in the global publishing community. Today's update includes a Chinese techno thriller that's drawing U.K. film interest; a Finnish debut making the rounds; a bestselling Swedish author launching a new trilogy; and more.
Chinese Debut Draws British Studio
U.K. studio Warp Films has optioned Stanley Chan’s literary science fiction novel, The Waste Tide, which is being compared to Paolo Bacigalupi's The Wind-Up Girl and Luc Besson's Lucy. The book follows "waste workers"--members of the lowest caste of Silicon Isle, China's capital for electronic waste recycling--as a virus capable of mind control comes to their shores. The book was originally published in Chinese by Changjiang Literature & Art, and the science-fiction writer Ken Liu is working on the English translation. Gray Tan at the Grayhawk Agency represents the author, and Eddie Schneider of JABberwocky Literary Agency, will handle rights in the U.S.
Backlist Dutch Novel Sees New Life
Dutch publishing house Cossee has re-launched the novel A Foolish Virgin by Ida Simons, a book considered by some a classic of Dutch literature. A Foolish Virgin has been compared to John Williams’s 1965 novel, Stoner, about a midwestern young man, William Stoner, from a hardscrabble upbringing, who opts to study literature, instead of agriculture, and defied his family’s expectations in the process. Simons died in 1960, when A Foolish Virgin was originally published. The novel is set in a Jewish community in Antwerp during the late 1920s and early ‘30s. In it, Gittel, who is often neglected by her mother and father, finds solace and freedom practicing the piano at a friend's house. It’s during her piano lessons, and her time with her friend, that Gittel feels most alive. Cossee said the novel, among other things, explores the “vulnerable relationship between two girls in the middle of the lively Jewish community.” Sales have been made to Empúries (Catalan), Pistorius & Olanská (Czech Republic), Belfond (France), Luchterland (Germany), Rizzoli (Italy), Alfaguara (Spain) and MacLehose Press (world English).
Finnish Debut Attracts International Interest
Bonnier Rights Finland has sold the debut novel, Where Four Roads Meet, by Tommi Kinnunen, to seven international publishers, including Rosinante (Denmark), Pax (Norway), Varrak (Estonia), Alma Littera (Lithuania), Prometheus (The Netherlands), Norstedts (Sweden) and Argo (Czech Republic). In Finland, where WSOY is the publisher, the novel has been a bestseller, moving over 30,000 copies to date. The multi-generational novel is set in reconstruction era Finland, and is about several interconnected characters, including a midwife, Maria, who arouses suspicion among her neighbors and her daughter, Lahja, who tries to connect with her unfaithful husband.
Swedish Crime Series Sells to Flurry of Pubs
The VIP Room, the first in a new crime series by the Swedish author Jens Lapidus (Stockholm Noir trilogy), has started making the rounds internationally, after holding down the #1 bestseller spot in Sweden since its June publication. Niclas Salomonsson, of the Salomonsson Agency, represents the author, who is published by Wahlström & Widstrand in Sweden. Deals have also been made with Bruna (Netherlands), Cappelen Damm (Norway), Zlin (Czech Republic), Modtryk (Denmark), Like (Finland), and Varrak (Estonia). The book centers on Nadjan as he is released from prison after eight years and accepts a job to track down a kidnapped businessman, Philip, whose past looks increasingly dirty the more Nadjan investiages.
Chinese Family Saga Goes In German Pre-empt
The Diana imprint of the German publisher Heyne has pre-empted Yan Ge’s The Chili Bean Paste Clan from Gray Tan at the Grayhawk Agency. The book is being compared to Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and is about the Duan family, which has managed a chili bean paste factory, in a fictional rural town, for decades. The book is narrated by Joy, who has been sent away to a facility after suffering a breakdown. When her father, Papa, has a heart attack, the family's domineering matriarch, Grandma, takes control and sibling rivalries are brought to the surface. The novel was originally published in China by Zhejiang Literature and Art, and foreign sales have also been made to Presses de la Cite (France) and Europa (Hungary). Anna Stein of Aitken Alexander will handle rights in the U.S.