I have spent the last two days in a panic, catching up on email. It's a combination of all the RSVPs I received for Book Expo, 99% of which are at the exact same time on Thursday evening, and all sorts of event inquiries that are either on the fence, leaning no, or good on our side, but the publisher is trying to sort things out.
Many events run themselves, but others have all sorts of details to work out. One thing I am hot on for books translated from other languages is for the author to also read in his or her native tongue. This has been very successful working with authors who speak and write in a number of languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, and German. At this point, I'd probably think I could pull off a number more, including Chinese, Arabic, and Korean.
There's only one problem. When it came to our event with Antoine Laurain, author of The President's Hat, it turned out the author thought we had the book and we thought he had it. I thought about downloading the French ebook edition but I could not find a vendor.
I did not want that to happen with Joel Dicker's event for the worldwide phenomenon, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair. The book won three literary prizes in French and though the book is completely set in the United States, it was translated from the French by Sam Taylor. So I ordered a copy myself, from Montreal Bookseller Renaud-Bray. The site was completely in French, so I used translation software to make sure I was jumping through all the right hoops. And it worked! I was so pleased.
Sharon and Anne both read the book and said it's a very much in the vein of Dan Brown, an entertaining thriller with short chapters, so I think the whole thing is like eating a bag of chips. Remember that old slogan about not being able to eat just one? It's hard to stop.
"All the elements are present in this book for a great summer read--the mysterious disappearance of a beautiful young girl, a successful young novelist searching for the answers, a lovely seaside setting in New Hampshire, and lots, and I mean lots, of suspects. Don't be daunted by the 600+ page count, once you start this intriguing mystery, you will be swept up in the story, and stay with it until the very last page."--Sharon K. Nagel, Boswell Book Company
And look at all this French praise!
“If you dip your toes into this major novel, you’re finished: you won’t be able to keep from sprinting through to the last page. You will be manipulated, thrown off course, flabbergasted and amazed by the many twists and turns, red herrings and sudden changes of direction in this exuberant story.”
—Le Journal du Dimanche
“A funny, intelligent, breathtaking book within a book . . . There is a real joy in discovering this extraordinary novel.” —Lire
“A master stroke . . . A crime novel with not one plot line but many, full of shifting rhythms, changes of course and multiple layers that, like a Russian doll, slot together beautifully . . . In maestro form, Dicker alternates periods and genres (police reports, interviews, excerpts from novels) and explores America in all its excesses—media, literary, religious—all the while questioning the role of the literary writer.” —L’Express
“Dizzying, like the best American thrillers . . . Rich in subplots and twists, moving backwards and forwards in time, containing books within books.” —Le Figaro
There might be the implication that we might be selling the book in the native language, but we are only selling the English version. That said, we will be having a drawing the night of the event for the French edition, La Vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert. It's a $42 value, if you include the shipping. (The American edition is less than half the price, as it's a paperback original).
Now the other question? Should we umlaut Joël Dicker or not? He is in the French materials, but Penguin has chosen to forgo the dots. Your thoughts on the matter? It's not too hard to include nowadaye, just type "alt235" on a pc and it will probably type correctly. You can let me know at the event, on Tuesday, June 3, 7 pm, at Boswell.
For those of you not in Milwaukee, the American edition of Dicker's novel goes on sale May 27th. I should also note that he's visiting a number of other cities in the USA--here's the tour list. Sharon and Anne also met the author in Chicago and said he was totally charming. If he's got half the charm of Antoine Laurain, it should be a wonderful evening indeed!
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