Amid a flurry of seven-figure deals igniting this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair—many for books by first-time American authors—a short Spanish novel has generated buzz, and some hefty advances. Milena Busquets’ This Too Shall Pass (or También Esto Pasará) has been preempted by Molly Stern and Alexis Washam at Hogarth for a sum rumored to be in the substantial six figure range. The U.S. sale comes after a flurry of pre-fair acquisitions by publishers around the world.
Busquets is based in Barcelona and the novel is being handled in Frankfurt by the Spanish agency Pontas Literary & Film. Pontas said the book is about “loss, love and sex.” Its narrator, Blanca, is about to turn 40, and has just lost her mother. To cope with the situation, she decides to decamp for her family’s summer home, in an upscale Catalan fishing village, accompanied by her kids, both of her ex-husbands, her lover and various friends.
In Spain, where Anagrama has the rights, the book is set for a February 2015 release. In addition to Hogarth, which took North American rights, another major English-language deal has just closed with British publisher Harvill Secker (which took U.K. and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada). At press time, Pontas confirmed that the novel has sold in 11 territories.
A short, confessional work, at 150 pages, the novel was written shortly after the author lost her own mother, Esther Tusquets. (Tusquets founded the well-known Spanish publisher Lumen, which is now part of Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial.)
Speaking about the novel, Washam said it features “an unforgettable narrator” and is “a true literary escapist pleasure.”
Busquets currently works as a journalist and translator.