The Greek poet Sappho, whose work has come down to us fragmentarily over 2,000 years (and which is now the subject of a new Knopf translation by Anne Carson), is the narrator of a new novel by veteran Erica Jong, just bought by Norton editor-in-chief Starling Lawrence. It's called Sappho's Leap, was being widely discussed at the recent BEA show as one of the hotter properties around and eventually went to auction. Lawrence won North American rights from London-based agent Ed Victor for six figures and expects to publish two years from now. The book, in which Sappho speaks in her own irreverent voice about affairs on Lesbos, is "an exceptional novel," said Lawrence, citing Jong's "intelligence and joy of storytelling." As part of the deal, Norton will also get two Jong backlist novels (titles unspecified so far) for trade paperback.
Volume 249 Issue 22 06/03/2002