Jane Lawson at Doubleday U.K. has signed Hungarian novel Fever at Dawn Péter Gárdos, winning a heated auction between nine publishers.
The novel, which was heavily touted and the London Book Fair and mentioned in our Global Rights Report newsletter, has sold in 22 territories. Doubleday has U.K. and Commonwealth rights (excluding ANZ) through Sarah Lutyens of Lutyens & Rubinstein, on behalf of Michael Heyward of Text Publishing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish Fever at Dawn in the U.S., and Anansi will publish in Canada. Gárdos is directing a film version of the story.
The novel is inspired by the post-Holocaust love story of Gárdos' parents. Lawson said: "I found myself incredibly moved by this story of how a young man given six months to live embarks on a mission to find a wife. Comparable in tone and range of emotion with the iconic film Life Is Beautiful, it is an exquisite tale of love outwitting death."
Ádám Halmos of the originating Hungarian publisher Libri said: "I am extremely proud that the world has discovered this hidden gem of Hungarian literature. In August 1998, three days after his father Miklós's death, his mother gave Péter Gárdos a pack of letters, written in the months after the Holocaust, which revealed his parents' astonishing love story. Peter read the letters in a single night. He is a wonderful storyteller but it took him more than 10 years to write his novel and make his film based on this deeply personal story."
Doubleday will publish in early 2016.
A version of this story originally appeared in the U.K. trade publication, BookBrunch.