The agent-editor pairing that brought us Yann Martel's bestselling Life of Pi have joined again to bring to the U.S. another startling first novel by a young Canadian writer. Harcourt's

Ann Patty and agent

Jackie Kaiser at Toronto's Westwood Creative agency signed a U.S. rights deal for

Raymond and Hannah by

Stephen Marché, a love story about two deeply committed but seemingly incompatible people who must find a way to resolve their problems in Jerusalem. Patty calls it "the most inventive and intelligent love story I've read in a long time," and Kaiser said, "It swept me off my feet." Marché is a 28-year-old Canadian who is a former member of the national fencing team and an internationally ranked chess player.