Friday, January 12, 2007

Fedexed from New York.

I received an unexpected delivery this morning. A package from America which contained two boxed sets of three books: The Gentle Axe by R.N. Morris, Fangland by John Marks and Giraffe by J.M. Ledgrand. It was a sample of a package Penguin Press are sending out to draw attention to their fiction publishing.

The accompanying letter has twelve signatures, from the President & Publisher Ann Godoff to the Editorial Assistant Lindsay Whalen.

Here's what the letter says:

Dear Reader,

We at Penguin Press have been delighted to play matchmaker since 2004 for remarkable works of fiction, from Zadie Smith's On Beauty, Mark Helprin's Freddy and Fredericka, and Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind to Marina Lewycka's A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian and now Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day. We don't call attention to the strength of our fiction publishing, preferring to let our work on behalf of each book speak for itself. But the three novels you'll find in this box are so distinctive, so resistant to easy pigeonholing, that we decided to do something a little out of the ordinary.

These novels couldn't be more different each to each. One asks you to imagine an office environment so poisonous, so competitive, so...evil, that it can't recognize real evil, Old World evil, when it's staring it in the face. In another, the world's largest captive heard of giraffes suddenly arrives in a small Czech town, changing nothing and everything. In the third, we catch up with Police Inspector Porfiry Petrovich, made famous by Fyodor Dostoyevsky in Crime and Punishment, as he faces a murder more sinister than anything he's ever known. We loved these books so much we felt compelled to publish them. That's our only compact with you the reader, our only grounds for asking for your attention. You might not respond to all of these novels, but one of them just might rearrange the furniture in your head permanently. Which one? Well, that's what makes it interesting. Enjoy.

Perhaps encouraged by this I decided, at last, to join the Society of Authors. Sent off my application form today.


Nik's Blog said...


And well done on FINALLY getting your arse into gear with the SOA! You'll not regret it.


Ian said...

Well done, Roger. It sounds the book is going to get a big push, which can't be good thing. Now to start stalking Richard and Judy...

roger said...

Thanks, Nik. I don't know why it's taken me so long to get round to joining SOA. I suddenly decided I ought to join the Crime Writers Association, then I thought while I'm at it I'd better join the SOA. So, I did. I remember they sort of came out against MNW and that put me off a bit. But well, I might be cutting off my nose to spite my face if I don't join.

And thanks Ian. Unfortunately, I'm too busy to stalk anyone at the moment. Ah well.

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