Chatto & Windus has acquired Catherine Chidgey's The Wish Child, a novel about "the Nazi obsession with perfection".
It tells the story of two families desperate to do everything to please the Reich, including "even the most unthinkable act of betrayal".
The Wish Child is Chidgey’s fourth novel. Her novels are critically acclaimed bestsellers in her native New Zealand. Her first novel In a Fishbone Church won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize Best First Book Award, was longlisted for the Orange Prize and won a Betty Trask award.
Senior editor Juliet Brooke acquired world all languages (ex New Zealand) rights from Caroline Dawnay at United Agents.
Brooke commented: "Just when you think you’ve read everything there is to read about the war, an extraordinary novel comes along and makes the familiar compelling and new. In prose rich with imagery, layered with the myth-making of the Third Reich, The Wish Child depicts a Germany desperate to conform. At the centre of the story are our captivating heroes, Erich and Siggi – whom we follow from childhood to old age – both witness and participant. It’s a haunting tale of our times and I defy you not to be moved by the twist at the end."
Chidgey said: "I lived in Berlin during the mid-1990s, and it is a place that will not leave me alone – its recent history is still so palpable. The Wish Child is a love letter of sorts to that city: a love letter and a lament. It is narrated by a person who played a pivotal role in the Third Reich, but about whom little is known. As soon as I learned about him, I knew his was a story I had to tell."
Monique Corless in Vintage rights said: "The Wish Child has captivated the Vintage rights team with its elegant and subtle prose. It packs an emotional punch and we can’t wait to share it with editors internationally."
The Wish Child will be published in early 2017.