Tuesday, June 05, 2007

BEA fallout

Sadly, there weren't many exciting galleys at all this year. Everyone seems to be highlighting their thriller list. I really just couldn't care less about thrillers.

I did get one book I'm excited about--It's called THE SPANISH BOW, by debut novelist Andromeda Romano-Lax. It is about a young Catalan boy growing up at the turn of the 20th century. When his father is killed in Cuba, he inherits a large bow to a string instrument. Against the richly-worked historical backdrop of a deeply troubled Spain, he learns to play the cello. I'm about 100 pages into it (naughty me) and I'm looking forward to putting up a review when I'm done.

I was excited by this galley for a number of reasons (not the least of which was the embossed gold title and the spot lamination of the cello head on the front cover--these are special effects we don't even waste on finished books!!). I do think many of us are recovering string players in some way or another, and there is a magnetic appeal for books about characters who didn't fail.

But also I'm encouraged that we're still highlighting debut fiction. I think that the most disheartening perspective of the publishing industry is unfortunately from within, but seeing an author who deserves to make it make it is like a beacon of renewed hope. As my friend Will, an agent, will tell you, one of the saving graces of working in an industry that is increasingly mercenary and rooted in the capricious and conservative sensibilities of national franchises is the idea that there IS still hope for the talented but undiscovered writer. This is our last remaining magic.

My guess is if Harcourt can have anything to do with it, THE SPANISH BOW will be for 2007 what THE THIRTEENTH TALE and THE MEANING OF NIGHT were for 2006, or what THE HISTORIAN was for 2005. I can't wait to find out if I think Andromeda deserves it.

1 comment:

moonrat said...

Although one tiny sidenote--and this is how warped we are. Andromeda is our idea of a debut novelist--having published extensive pieces of journalism and nonfiction books before. So for those aspiring authors of you---dont' give up on building that platform!