New American Library's sudden decision to drop its plans to reissue Sisters, Lynne Cheney's tale of lesbian love in the Wild West, after the vice president's wife expressed her objections, was business as usual for the house, said Liz Perl, v-p, executive director of publicity for the Berkley Publishing Group and NAL. "It has been done before, and we try to honor our authors' wishes," said Perl.
The book was canceled after NAL received a call from Cheney's lawyer Robert Barnett. "I think that the publisher respects him and respects his opinion," Perl said. "It was all very friendly. He's been wonderful to work with, and he was just completely aboveboard and we felt that he made his case." Cheney spokesperson Natalie Rule said the author objected to the proposed reissue because she "just doesn't think it represents her best efforts as a writer," Rule said.
Barnett and Perl agreed there was never any threat of legal action. Cheney might not have had any legal recourse anyway: though the book had been out of print for more than two decades, the rights had never reverted to the author, Perl said. She added that NAL did not have big hopes for the revived edition: "I don't think you were going to see it on the bestseller list."
Not everyone is happy with the ending of the short saga of Sisters. Kris Kleindienst, co-owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Mo., said she had received 200 orders for the book after a story about the reissue ran in PW Daily last week. She accused NAL of capitulating to pressure from the Bush administration, saying, "If they cave in on this, what does that say about what they'll do on more important books?"