North American rights to Edward Carey’s ‘wondrous pageant of a novel’ LITTLE have been acquired in a significant deal by Cal Morgan of Riverhead Books, who will publish in 2018. Aardvark Bureau, the world fiction imprint of the Belgravia Books Collective, will also publish LITTLE in the UK in Autumn 2018.
Carey’s return to writing for adults, after his acclaimed IREMONGER trilogy for younger readers (chosen by The New York Times, NPR, and Kirkus for their Best Books of the Year and now optioned for film), traces the fascinating life of a young Swiss girl, Marie Grosholtz, who would go on to become famous for her waxworks as Madame Tussaud.
Marie’s extraordinary career started in Berne, Switzerland, in the household of Dr Philippe Curtius. 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. During the French Revolution she was imprisoned and narrowly escaped execution – but cast the heads of many of those who were not so lucky...
Far from being a chamber of horrors, Edward Carey’s telling of Marie’s story is an affecting and exuberant tale crossing countries and covering a tumultuous period in history, told 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.
The text will be peppered with the author’s haunting illustrations. Edward has drawn international praise both for his imaginative novels and their original imagery and his Italian publisher has had several exhibitions of his work for the illustrations from HEAP HOUSE, FOULSHAM and LUNGDON, the Iremonger trilogy.
Cal Morgan said:
‘I’m so thrilled to be able to bring Edward Carey and LITTLE, his wondrous pageant of a novel, to Riverhead. Many of us here had followed Edward since the days of OBSERVATORY MANSIONS; others still have his illustrations for HEAP HOUSE fixed fondly to their walls. But this is the book Edward was born to write: a cavalcade of artists and eccentrics, rogues, royals, and radicals, set against the roil of the French Revolution. And at its centre, the tiny strong fierce little girl named Marie, nicknamed Little, eventually celebrated by the world as Madame Tussaud. It’s a book that brings me joy whenever I think of it – which is constantly. And I’m delighted we have a chance to bring it to American readers.’
Edward Carey said:
‘I could not be happier that the extraordinarily wise and brilliant Calvert Morgan will be the editor on LITTLE. It's taken me fifteen years to get here with this book and I can't believe how lucky I am that it has fallen into such exceptional US hands. I'm drawing furiously every day for it. Over the years I never dreamed that this might be the outcome, I'm completely overjoyed that Riverhead will publish this story about a diminutive woman who lived in a cupboard in Versailles and got to hold most of the famous heads of the French Revolution after they'd been disconnected from their bodies.’
Isobel Dixon, Edward’s agent at Blake Friedmann, said:
‘It’s a thrill to make this journey with the plucky, perspicacious Marie aka Little and her comrades, who are much loved in the agency. I’m delighted that Cal Morgan will be introducing her to North American readers, joining Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce of Aardvark Bureau in the UK. It’s an unfolding pleasure following the wonders from Edward Carey’s pen as he shares his drawings on Twitter every day, further illuminating this incredible story. So, happy meetings all round – and many more international adventures to follow!’
Alongside the IREMONGER trilogy (UK: Hot Key; US: Overlook; Canada: HarperCollins and many other markets in translation), Edward Carey 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).
Follow Edward Carey on Twitter – and see his daily illustrations for LITTLE!
Visit Edward Carey's website
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