The other day, Publisher’s Lunch reported the following deal:
Whitbread and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novelist Jim Crace’s THE PESTHOUSE, to Nan Talese at Nan A. Talese, for publication in May 2007, plus two more novels, by David Godwin at David Godwin Associates.
Being a bit of a Crace fan, I did a bit of digging and learned the following. First off, Crace recently jumped ship to Picador. Shortly after this move, the Guardian suggested, without quoting anybody specific, that Picador may have a plan to give Crace the sales to match his cult audience. Certainly, keeping Crace secure for three books is a step in the right direction. And I’m hoping that it works out for Crace in a way that it didn’t quite work out for Eric Kraft, when Picador had obtained all of Kraft’s Peter Leroy novels.
In a Bookmunch interview, Crace called The Pesthouse “a false historical travel narrative set in the United States about two hundred years from now. The country has fragmented. The machines have stopped. The novel provides America not with a science fiction future but a future which mirrors something that many of its citizens have always wanted and lacked – a medieval “past”, an ancient European experience. How it will turn out is anybody’s guess.”
On his website, Crace himself describes it as “a long, picaresque novel,” suggesting also that The Pesthouse will provide America with “a medieval past.” The book’s first line: “This used to be America.”
The novel, which will be Crace’s first since 2003’s Six, has taken considerable time for Crace to write.