Atlantic takes on Lethem's Trump-inspired thriller

Atlantic takes on Lethem's Trump-inspired thriller

Atlantic will publish Jonathan Lethem’s first crime novel for 20 years next April.

Will Atkinson, m.d. and publisher at Atlantic, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada Lethem's 11th novel. Atlantic will publish The Feral Detective in hardback and e-book on 4th April 2019. The Feral Detective was published in the US this autumn by HarperCollins.

The rights were bought from Fiona Baird at WME on behalf of Eric Simonoff. It will be Lethem's first detective novel since the 1999 novel Motherless Brooklyn, which is currently being adapted into a film starring Edward Norton. 

Phoebe Siegler first meets Charles Heist in a shabby trailer on the eastern edge of Los Angeles, the synopsis for Lethem's new novel reads. She's looking for her friend's missing daughter, Arabella, and hires help from Heist, a laconic loner who keeps his pet opossum in a desk drawer. The unlikely pair navigate the enclaves of desert-dwelling vagabonds and find that Arabella is in serious trouble and needs their help.

Lethem described Phoebe Siegler as a narrator frustrated with the election of US President Donald Trump.

"The Feral Detective was conceived as a description of the fissures in our present life – fissures between man and woman, urban and rural, East and West,” the American author said. "Perhaps I could live the first year of the Trump administration through Phoebe’s eyes, instead of my own. Maybe she could make some sense of it. The Feral Detective has become a container for my anxieties about my world, and at the same time a thrilling diversion from it. It served as a suit of armour." 

 Atkinson said: “Jonathan sits at the summit of American writers. To publish him is a moment of great pride.”

WME have also sold rights in Germany, Spain, Italy, and Czech. Foreign rights enquiries should be directed to Tracy Fisher on