Angry Robot Books has acquired The Village at the Edge of Noon by Russian author Darya Bobyleva, to be translated by Ilona Chavasse, head of rights at Unbound.
In his first acquistion for the publisher, Simon Spanton, comissioning editor at large, signed world English and audio rights from Chavasse who also also represents the author as her agent. Publication is scheduled for 11th October 2022.
The Village at the Edge of Noon is billed as a "mystical detective story" which follows the residents of a village outside Moscow who wake up to discover that the road out to the motorway has disappeared without a trace and the usual paths into the woods somehow lead back into the village. Anyone who makes it into the trees either vanishes into thin air or returns not quite themselves and the internet, radio and TV have stopped working. There are strange noises and strange visitations. The villagers are plagued by odd thoughts and desires, and quiet but pervasive voices call from the river. The villagers split into factions and odd alliances with the new "neighbours" are formed. Meanwhile the forest looms closer every day. Katya, a solitary young woman, might be the only one beginning to understand what is going on.
The novel was Bobyleva's debut and has sold over 10,000 copies in Moscow, the publisher said. Her novels have been shortlisted for major commercial awards in Russia and she has won two Russian language horror and genre awards.
Spanton: "I couldn't be happier that my first acquisition for Angry Robot is Darya's debut. I love legends and folklore, especially those of Russia and to have the chance to acquire such an accomplished modern speculative novel infused with these stories was a dream start at Angry Robot. We can't wait to introduce, via Ilona Chavasse's brilliant and sensitive translation, an exciting new talent in world literature to readers in our markets."
Bobyleva commented: "I'm absolutely delighted to join the Angry Robot crew, despite it all still seeming like a dream and I hope English-speaking readers will enjoy their acquaintance with Russian 'dacha gothic'."
Chavasse added: "Yes, it's 'Under the Dome' meets 'The Witcher' — but Darya's witty, irreverent transplantation of Slavic folklore to modern times and mores also tackles the big themes — history, memory, family, the strife between generations. I fell in love with her sardonic voice, creepy, clever plotting and vivid characters, as well as the way that her putative monsters nonchalantly exist beside us, making mere bystanders of humans who assume they are the stars of the show. In her native Russia, the author has been compared to Stephen King, but also Bulgakov and the Strugatsky brothers, yet with a lens entirely her own. I'm so excited to translate this highly original voice for a new audience."