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Penguin acquires novel set during Chernobyl disaster
16.05.12 | Charlotte Williams
Penguin has acquired a debut novel by Irish author Darragh McKeon, with the story set predominantly in 1986 in the Soviet Union around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Viking commissioning editor Will Hammond pre-empted the novel, All That is Solid, by 33-year-old McKeon from Anna Webber at United Agents, for a "five-figure sum".
He said: "It's a classic multi-perspective, third person, big, big style novel. It's set mainly in the Soviet Union and it's about the disintegration of that society; the Chernobyl disaster, and the literal and metaphorical collapse of the society; the mishandling of the clean-up and the mishandling of the cover-up of the clean-up. It's the story of six characters whose lives we find to be interlinked."
He added: "We were just so confident about it, we put our best foot forward . . . By today's standards for a literary debut, it was a substantial amount."
Viking plans to publish at the beginning of 2014.
Author McKeon won the Texaco Art Competition when he was 17, and has recently worked as a theatre director.