LITTLE: THE STORY OF MADAME TUSSAUD
Aardvark Bureau, the world fiction imprint of the Belgravia Books Collective, has acquired Edward Carey’s extraordinary picaresque novel LITTLE, based on the incredible life story of the world’s most famous wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud.
LITTLE is to be illustrated by Edward Carey’s distinctive pencil drawings.
Aardvark Bureau has acquired UK, Europe and Commonwealth (ex Can) rights from Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann.
Born Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in Alsace but known as ‘Little’ in the novel for her diminutive size, Marie started out in the household of Dr Philippe Curtius in Berne, Switzerland . A physician skilled in creating anatomical wax models, it was Curtius who taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling and took her to pre-revolutionary France.
At the age of 17, Marie became the art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister, Madame Elisabeth, at Versailles. During the French Revolution she was imprisoned and narrowly escaped execution. She cast the heads of many of those who were not so lucky... She married François Tussaud in 1795 and later moved to London, where she set up her world-famous waxworks museum.
Far from being a chamber of horrors, Edward Carey’s telling of Marie’s story is an affecting and exuberant Dickensian tale crossing countries and covering a tumultuous period in history, through the eyes of a cast of quirky and sympathetic characters. It is an unconventional love story, the tale of a woman’s rise to success against the odds, and a hymn to the strange beauty of the human body.
Edward Carey first became fascinated by the story of Madame Tussaud while working at the London museum. He is the author of two previous works of literary fiction – OBSERVATORY MANSIONS (Picador, 2000, shortlisted for the Borders Discover New Writers Award) and ALVA AND IRVA (Picador, 2003, longlisted for the IMPAC) – as well as the acclaimed Iremonger Trilogy for young adults, beginning with HEAP HOUSE (chosen by The New York Times, NPR, and Kirkus for their Best Books of the Year and now optioned for film).
LITTLE will be published by Aardvark Bureau in autumn 2018, including illustrations by the author: chapters will be illustrated with line drawings of characters and objects mentioned, while the cover will feature Carey’s painting of LITTLE in the style of Jacques-Louis David, whom Marie encounters in the book when she is asked to make a waxwork of the murdered Marat.
Jane Aitken says: ‘There are so many reasons to be excited about publishing LITTLE. Such an original novel which marries the Gallic and Aardvark lists perfectly – rich with French history, but written in English with Edward’s wit and pathos. And we are thrilled at the prospect of publishing Edward’s wonderful illustrations.’
Edward Carey says: ‘I'm absolutely thrilled to have LITTLE published by Aardvark Bureau who know the French world so well, and who have been so enthusiastic about this story of a diminutive servant turned entertainment mogul. Aardvark are so inspiring to work with, full of ideas and enthusiasm, and with a tremendous encouragement have championed this novel spanning a big stretch of calamitous history told by a small bloodstained crumb...and they have let me populate it with pencil sketches. I couldn't be happier.’
Carey’s agent, Isobel Dixon, says: ‘Madame Tussaud’s journey was an extraordinary one, and in so imaginatively retracing her footsteps and the growth of her art, Edward Carey has created a novel of wonder. LITTLE is funny, dark, and moving, about the great violent sweep of revolution as well as the tender secrets of the heart. I’m thrilled with this perfect match of innovative publisher with brilliant author and I look forward to more creative publishing adventures ahead in bringing this unforgettable novel to readers.’
Praise for Edward Carey:
‘Delightful, eccentric, heartfelt, surprising, philosophical’ - Eleanor Catton
‘It's hard to imagine a better subject for Edward Carey's particular genius than the life of Madame Tussaud’ - Charles Lambert
‘Edward Carey is an enormously talented writer’ - Publishers Weekly
‘Edward Carey is one of the strangest writers we are privileged to have in this country’ - Observer
‘Carey writes with such persuasive authority, and we are inclined to believe him’ - New York Times Review of Books
‘If this were music, Carey would be Eric Satie. If it were film, he would be Tim Burton’ - Newsday
‘Conveyed with so much sympathy and acute observation that it is hard not to be beguiled’ - The Times
About Edward Carey
Edward Carey is a novelist, visual artist and playwright. His acclaimed YA series the Iremonger Trilogy (HEAP HOUSE, FOULSHAM and LUNGDON) is published in thirteen countries and has been optioned for film adaptation. Born in England, Edward has lived in France, Romania, Lithuania, Germany, Ireland and Denmark. He now lives in the USA and teaches at the University of Austin, Texas.