Canongate has acquired an “original and darkly chilling debut”.
Louisa Joyner, editorial director of fiction, bought UK and Commonwealth rights to two books by Jess Kidd from Susan Armstrong at Conville & Walsh.
The first book is Himself, described as “by turns blackly humorous, mysterious and darkly chilling”.
It tells the story of Mahony, a loveable thief and Dublin charmer who was abandoned as a baby, and returns to the place of his birth, Mulderrig, in search of answers about his mother.
His visit, dark eyes and outsider ways stir up ghosts from the past, causing suspicion from the locals. With the help of local anarchist and eccentric, Mrs Cauley, he sets about interrogating the shifty villagers, but the puritanical and self-righteous Father Quinn is determined to purge the village of both Mahony and any memory of his unscrupulous mother.
Joyner said: “This wonderful, witty and wonky novel is a perfect fit for Canongate: it’s utterly original and deeply enjoyable. It smacks you in the face from the first page and for the rest of the novel strokes your cheek.”
Canongate will publish in hardback in July 2016.